Vitamin D is one of the most important vitamins for our bodies, along with other vitamins and minerals. However, unfortunately, today's fast-paced life with processed foods and a lack of healthy eating has led to 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. Its deficiency is a health problem that can affect people of all ages and backgrounds. In this article, we'll 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 ultraviolet B (UVB) light from the sun, it synthesizes vitamin D. However, various circumstances can lead to deficiency:
- Lack of sun exposure: Living in areas with harsh winters, spending most of your time indoors or wearing clothes that cover most of your body can reduce your exposure to the sun. In this sense, the recommendation is that you expose yourself to the sun for at least 10 to 15 minutes a day. However, with protection, of course.
- Skin pigmentation: People with darker skin have more 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.
- Older age: The body's ability to produce vitamin D decreases with age.
- Problems with intestinal absorption: Gastrointestinal disorders, such as celiac disease or Crohn's disease, can impair the proper absorption of vitamin D.
- Kidney Diseases: People with kidney disease may have lower levels because the vit-D enzymes are inactive and need to be converted by the kidney enzymes. Thus, if the kidney is not functioning normally due to some disease, it has difficulty transforming the enzyme.
- Hormonal Imbalances and Resistant Vitamin D Receptors
Symptoms of Vita Deficiency–D:
- Muscle weakness: Vitamin D plays a key role in muscle function, so a lack of it can cause weakness.
- Bone pain: Vitamin D deficiency is associated with bone problems such as osteoporosis and rickets in children.
- Fatigue: People with low vitamin D levels may feel more tired and have reduced energy, causing excessive sweating, especially in the face area.
- Depression: Studies suggest that vitamin D is linked 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, leading to infections and inflammation. In addition, studies show that people with vitamin D deficiency are more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes mellitus and multiple sclerosis.
- Bad mood: serotonin (the happiness hormone) is only produced in the body when it has sufficient amounts of vit-D, so low levels are not able to produce the hormone, causing episodes of stress and low mood.
- Vision problems: Low levels can affect the retina and cause night blindness and visual disturbances.
- Slow healing: Together with vitamin K and A, vitamin D plays a unique role in the effectiveness of fast and efficient healing.
- Weak nails: Vit-D can affect calcium levels in your body, leading to flaking, brittle and even flexible nails.
- Difficulties getting pregnant: A lack of vit-D affects the production of cholesterol, which is important for the production of sex hormones.
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 thrush and canker sores, as well as pain in the mouth due to calcium loss.
Consequences of Vitamin D Deficiency:
In the long term, vitamin D deficiency can have serious health consequences. In addition to the bone problems mentioned, it has been associated with an increased 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 the greatest allies when it comes to increasing the levels in your body, but it's important to remember to use sun protection to avoid burns and harmful effects on your skin in the long term, such as premature ageing, spots and the possibility of skin cancer.
In addition, there is a large list of foods that can help you increase your levels. These include
- Egg yolk
- Chicken liver
- Bovine liver
- Mushrooms and much more
How Do I Know My Vit-D Is Low?
If you're experiencing any of the symptoms and complaints listed above, it's best to see a doctor to analyze your case and decide how best to proceed with vitamin D replacement if this is your problem. In addition, you can take a vit-D blood test, also known as a hydroxyvitamin D or 25(OH)D. The reference values are:
|Greater than 20 ng/mL||Value of a healthy person with correct Vitamin D levels|
|Between 30 and 60 ng/mL||Suitable for the elderly, pregnant women and patients with vit-D deficiency diseases such as rickets and kidney disease.|
|Between 10 and 20 ng/mL||Low value with risk of bone loss and possibility of developing diseases and symptoms|
|Less than 10 ng/mL||Extremely low value, most of the time requiring medication replacement|