Here are 6 signs you may be vitamin D deficient
Vitamin D is an important nutrient we need to stay healthy and keep our bones strong, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. But its importance doesn’t stop there. It also plays a role in keeping our teeth strong and helping to protect against the loss of bone mass. Our immune system also uses vitamin D to help fight off viruses.
Maintaining healthy levels is important to our overall health. But identifying vitamin D deficiency isn’t as simple as looking at a list of symptoms.
“Many people who are vitamin D deficient do not become symptomatic until it is severe,” says Dr. Katie Thompson, internal medicine physician at Aurora Health Care.
But there are signs to look out for. Being vitamin D deficient can cause weak bones or muscles that can lead to fractures, according to Dr. Thompson. She says other less severe symptoms can include mood changes, muscle cramps, bone and joint pain, and fatigue.
If you experience these symptoms, you should notify your primary care provider. They may recommend running tests to see if supplementation is needed.
Dr. Thompson cautions against going straight to extra supplementation.
“Vitamin D is a vitamin you can take too much of, so it is never a bad idea to check a lab to make sure a supplement (and what dose of supplement) is needed,” she explains.
Dr. Thompson says that increasing vitamin D-rich foods, spending time outside and taking a vitamin D supplement (with proper dosage), are the best ways to avoid becoming vitamin D deficient.
You can naturally increase your vitamin D levels by eating a well-balanced diet , along with spending a short amount of time in the sun (10 to 15 minutes), when possible.
Here are some of the most common vitamin D-rich foods, according to Dr. Thompson:
- Milk, orange juice, or yogurt fortified with vitamin D
- Salmon, mackerel, or trout
- Canned tuna fish
- Cereals fortified with vitamin D
- Cod liver oil
Now is the perfect time to make an appointment with a primary care physician. Whether you live in Illinois or Wisconsin, it’s easy to find a doctor near you.
About the Author
Sarah Kennedy is a digital content specialist with Advocate Aurora Health. She previously worked as a managing editor for a B2B publication and a digital editor for various websites. She studied journalism at Columbia College Chicago.
A couple of points about the article, It is hard to get an adequate intake of vitamin D through diet alone; Vitamin D is technically not a vitamin but acts more like a hormone in the body. Some people may have genetic defects in the vitamin D metabolism pathway so sunlight is not an adequate way for those people to get vitamin D. Milk has vitamin D added but usually yogurt does not. If one is taking vitamin D supplement, they should take with vitamin K2 (D3/K2) otherwise they may increase their risk for cardiovascular disease. Some populations are more at risk for vitamin D deficiency and that should be addressed (e.g. african americans, asians etc) And levels of vitamin D are likely to be higher in summer and lower in winter. When you take your lab may be important
So where is the list of 6 symptoms refered to in the title?
You can see the six signs mentioned here in the article:
Being vitamin D deficient can cause weak bones or muscles that can lead to fractures, according to Thompson. She says other less severe symptoms can include mood changes, muscle cramps, bone and joint pain, and fatigue.
So why not make Vitamin D testing a requirement as part of a yearly physical exam???
I found this article very helpful. Had my PCP order a vitamin D test at my recent wellness exam and found I was very deficient. This may explain why I have been having muscle/joint pain and fatigue. I am now on a high dose for 12 weeks, more labs and then over the counter vitamin.
Would taking a daily multivitamin suffice?
Keep in mind Vitamin D supplement is a fat soluble vitamin. Meaning it needs to be taken with a healthy fat in order to obtain optimal absorbtion. That doesn’t mean eating donuts with it, rather healthy fats like Salmon, Avocado, etc.
Thx for the article, & thx to Janet for the add’l important info.
Medicare will not cover a screening Vit d level. I guess they don’t think its that important. Since you don’t have symptoms until you are really deficient, that doesn’t help seniors much.