Vitamin D deficiency symptoms will be described in the following article. Vitamin D is not like other vitamins; this pro-hormone is produced in the skin of humans and animals during the sun exposure. D deficiency can be described as a condition that develops when vitamin D levels in blood get too low. This condition can be mild or severe. Mild deficiency is usually asymptomatic, and it is very hard to diagnose.
Vitamin D deficiency is also known as hypovitaminosis D. This can be a result of inadequate or limited exposure to sunlight, improper diet, or problems related to absorption of vitamin D. Certain diseases can impair vitamin D conversion into its active form. Some of these conditions include kidney disease, liver disease, or some hereditary diseases.Vitamin D deficiency usually results in bad mineralization of bones, leading to bone softening, osteomalacia, rickets and osteoporosis. Rickets develops in children, whereas osteomalacia affects adults.
Vitamin D deficiency is usually diagnosed by checking the concentrations of calcidol in one’s blood. Calcidol (also called compound 25-hydroxyvitamin D) is actually a precursor to calcitriol (the active form of vitamin D). A review from 2008 suggested that vitamin D deficiency could be divided into four categories. You will see the table below in the text.
The symptoms of severe deficiency include:
To get enough “sunshine vitamin”, you need to expose your skin to direct sunlight, without wearing any sunscreen – several times a week. Darker skin needs longer exposure, because melanin contained in dark skin acts as a sun block.
Vitamin D is also found in some foods like, animal meat, eggs, fish oil and dairy products. Beef liver is one of the best sources of vitamin D. However, none of these foods can actually fulfill your daily requirements. The amounts contained in these foods are certainly valuable, but they are not satisfactory. Vegetarians do not consume any of these foods, but they can opt for fortified cereals and energy bars that are enriched with vitamin D. Infants can get vitamin D through formula milk. Mother’s milk is very important, but it is not high in vitamin D. Formula milk should be added to the baby’s diet.
According to numerous researches, vitamin D can be helpful in preventing certain diseases, like cancer, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, obesity, hypertension, high cholesterol in blood, asthma, etc.
Vitamin D deficiency is one of the major causes of rickets in babies. This condition is characterized by bone softening and it leads to serious bone deformities. If vitamin D levels are low, bones will not be properly mineralized; calcium and phosphorus will not be properly absorbed. Skeletal deformities are extremely difficult to treat.
Obesity is also related to low vitamin D levels. According to recent researches, low levels of vitamin D can prevent a person from losing weight. Many people who have successfully treated D deficiency say that it is much easier to lose weight when vitamin D levels in blood are normal. This is very true; according to just one of the studies, women who had low levels of vitamin D before dieting had difficulties losing weight.
Vitamin D Deficiency Causes
Some of the most common causes include:
Poor diet. If you don’t consume enough foods that contain this vitamin, you will be at greater risk of developing this condition. You can solve this problem by consuming more vitamin D-rich foods, like animal meat, eggs, fish oil and dairy products.
Limited sun exposure is one of the major causes of vitamin D deficiency. You should spend nearly twenty minutes in the sun (or longer, if you are dark-skinned), several times a week. People who live in cold weather countries are at greater risk, because they just don’t spend time in the sun. In such cases, sun showers are used as an alternative to sunrays. Of course, before you decide to use this device, talk to your dermatologist!
People whose kidneys cannot convert this vitamin into the active form are also at risk. This happens as we age. Older people often have this problem.
Being overweight is another risk factor. However, people who already have low vitamin D levels, and also have problems with obesity, can have difficulties losing weight. Low levels of vitamin D and obesity are closely related to each other.
Vitamin D Deficiency Symptoms in Infants
As we said, vitamin D is very important for normal development and growth. If you have a baby, you need to talk to your doctor about formula milk and /or vitamin D supplements. Even if you are breastfeeding, this won’t be enough to fulfill your baby’s daily requirements.
The most common symptoms in infants include:
If you notice any of these symptoms in your baby, talk to your baby’s doctor as soon as possible.