Vitamin D deficiency and its risks

By: Olivia Cristina

Discover the symptoms and risks of having a vitamin D deficiency in your body

Vitamin D is one of the most important vitamins for our body, along with other vitamins and minerals. However, unfortunately, due to today's life and its avalanche of processed foods and lack of healthy eating, this has led to us having increasingly low levels of vit-D in our bodies.

Vitamin D plays a crucial role in the human body, directly affecting bone health, the immune system and even the proper functioning of the heart and muscles. Disability is a health problem that can affect people of all ages and backgrounds. In this text, we will explore the causes, symptoms and consequences of vit-D deficiency.

Causes of vitamin D deficiency

The main source of vit-D for the human body is exposure to sunlight. When the skin is exposed to the sun's ultraviolet B (UVB) light, it synthesizes vitamin D. However, various circumstances can cause a deficiency:

  • Lack of exposure to the sun: living in areas with harsh winters, spending most of your time indoors or wearing clothes that cover most of your body can reduce exposure to the sun. In this sense, the recommendation is to expose yourself to the sun for at least 10 to 15 minutes a day. Yes, with protection, of course.
  • Skin pigmentation: People with darker skin have a higher amount of melanin, which can limit the production of vitamin D in the skin. In this sense, the ideal for each organism is around 60-70 nmol/L of vit-D in summer and 50 in winter.
  • Advanced age: the body's ability to produce vitamin D decreases with age.
  • Intestinal absorption problems: gastrointestinal disorders, such as celiac disease or Crohn's disease, can alter the proper absorption of vitamin D.
  • Kidney disease: people with kidney disease may have reduced levels because vit-D enzymes are inactive and need to be converted by kidney enzymes. Therefore, if the kidney is not functioning normally due to some illness, it has difficulty transforming the enzyme.
  • Hormonal imbalances and resistant vitamin D receptors

Symptoms of Vita-D deficiency:

  • Muscle weakness: Vitamin D plays a key role in muscle function, so its lack can cause weakness.
  • Bone pain: vitamin D deficiency is associated with bone problems such as osteoporosis and rickets in children.
  • Fatigue: People with low levels of vitamin D may feel more tired and have reduced energy, causing excessive sweating, especially in the face area.
  • Depression: studies suggest that vitamin D is related to mental well-being and its lack can contribute to depressive symptoms.
  • Weakened immune system: Low levels of vitamin D can make it difficult for the immune system to defend itself, which causes infections and inflammation more easily. In addition, studies indicate that people with a vitamin D deficiency in their body are more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes mellitus and multiple sclerosis.
  • Bad mood: serotonin (happiness hormone) is only produced in the body when you have sufficient amounts of vit-D, so low levels are unable to produce the hormone, causing episodes of stress and bad mood.
  • Vision problems: low levels can affect the retina and cause night blindness and visual alterations.
  • Slow healing: together with vitamin K and A, vitamin D plays a unique role in the effectiveness of fast and equally efficient healing.
  • Weak nails: Vitamin D can affect calcium levels in the body, causing nails to become flaky, brittle and even flexible.
  • Difficulties getting pregnant: The lack of vit-D affects the production of cholesterol, which is important for the production of sex hormones.

Other symptoms

Other common symptoms are: body aches for no reason, sweating in the head area, various infections over a short period of time, weight gain, hair loss, infectious diseases such as canker sores and cold sores.

Consequences of vitamin D deficiency

In the long term, vitamin D deficiency can have serious health consequences. In addition to the bone problems mentioned above, it has been linked to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer and autoimmune disorders.

It is therefore essential to maintain adequate levels of vitamin D through sun exposure, diet and, when necessary, supplementation. If you suspect a vitamin D deficiency, it is advisable to consult a health professional for assessment and appropriate treatment.

Sources of vitamin D

The sun is one of your greatest allies when it comes to increasing the levels in your body. However, it is important to remember to use sun protection to avoid burns and long-term harmful effects on your skin such as premature ageing, spots and the possibility of skin cancer.

In addition, there is a long list of foods that can help you increase your levels. They are: Egg yolk Tuna Salmon Pollock Tilapia Beef liver Sardine Hongos and more

How do I know if my vitamin D is low?

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms and ailments mentioned above, the ideal thing is to see a doctor so that they can analyze your case and decide on the best course of action regarding vitamin D replacement if this is your problem. In addition, you can take a blood test for vitamin D, also known as hydroxyvitamin D or 25 (OH) D.

The reference values are:

  • Value greater than 20 ng/mL: for a healthy person with adequate vitamin D levels
  • Between 30 and 60 ng/mL: Indicated for older people, pregnant women and patients with vit-D deficiency-related diseases such as rickets, as well as kidney diseases.
  • Entre 10 y 20 ng/mL: Valor bajo con riesgo de pérdida ósea y posibilidad de desarrollar enfermedades y presentar síntomas
  • Less than 10 ng/mL: Extremely low value, requiring medication replacement in most cases Then.

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