Earlier, vitamin D was thought to be responsible for preventing osteoporosis and maintain bone health. However, recent research has shown the strong association of vitamin D deficiency in diabetes, asthma, TB, immunity, high blood pressure, neuro-muscular function, etc.
What Causes Vitamin D Deficiency
You should be know the details on vitamin d deficiency, including symptoms of vitamin D deficiency, its causes and how to prevent it.
One in seven U.S. teens, 70% whites and 97% of African Americans are deficient in vitamin D. A vitamin D defiency can occur due to the following reasons:
- The intake of vitamin D is lower than recommended vitamin D levels over a long time. The low vitamin D intake may be due to Vitamin D deficient diets.
- Exposure to sunlight is limited. 20-30 minutes exposure to sun rays can synthesize about 20,000 IU of vitamin D.
People with dark skin have reduced skin's ability to produce vitamin D from exposure to sunlight.
- Excessive use of sunscreens may cause vitamin d deficiency. Even weak sunscreens (SPF=8) block body's ability to generate vitamin D by 95%.
- Adults aged 50 and older can be lacking in vitamin D, because as people age, skin cannot synthesize vitamin D efficiently and also the kidney is less able to convert vitamin D to its active form.
- Burqa-clad women (wearing the veil) are prone to vitamin D deficiency due to inadequate exposure to sunlight. Around 15 per cent of the body (it could be hands or feet) should be exposed to sunlight for around 20 minutes a day for the vital compound to be absorbed into the body.
- Some disease of liver and kidneys so the formation of vitamin D is less whcih can cause vitamin d deficiency.
- Absorption of vitamin D from the digestive tract is inadequate due to renal problems or intestinal problems such as Crohn's disease.
- Genetic defect
- Obesity: People who are obese with a body mass index BMI ≥30 may be deficient in vitamin D. Obese people need twice as much vitamin D, because obesity impairs vitamin D utilization in the body.
You should know what happens when your vitamin d levels are low or you are lacking in vitamin d. The broad vitamin d deficiency symptoms or signs are listed below. Note that these symptoms may be due to other medical conditions.
People who has back pain, muscle pains or fatigue are likely to be vitamin D deficient.
- Rickets in children and osteomalacia (soft bones) in adults
The vitamin deficiency causes increased loss of calcium and phosphate in the stool, leading to bone deformity, muscular hypotonia, tetany and convulsions due to hypo calcemia. The bones become soft and can be easily bent in children of 6 to 18 months age. Their joints lose their shape and are not able to function properly. In young infants, the head may be flattened on one side due to softening of the bones of the skull. Premature infants and breast-fed babies are more prone to have rickets.
- muscle pain
- Several types of cancers
- Daytime sleepiness
- Deficiency during pregnancy increases risk of childhood dental problems
- Diabetes, Type 1 and 2
- Heart disease, hypertension, stroke
- Misaligned teeth and cavities, periodontal disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Muscle weakness
- Parkinson's disease
- Sleep irregularities
- Vision problems
- Weaker bones, bone pain and frequent fractures
- Weaker immune system becomes weak
- If it hurts to press firmly on your sternum, chances are that you are suffering from chronic vitamin D deficiency. The sternum (breastbone) is a long flat bone shaped like T in the chest below the neck, located in the center of the chest.
How to Prevent Vitamin D Deficiency
- Expose your face, arms, legs and back without sunscreen to sun in the early morning and late afternoon. The further you live from the equator, the longer exposure you need to the sun in order to generate vitamin D. People with dark skin may need 20 times as much exposure to sunlight as fair skinned people to generate the same amount of vitamin D.
- Eat a diet rich in foods that contain vitamin D or take a vitamin D supplement.