15 Health Risks and Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency from 15 Health Risks and Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency

15 Health Risks and Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D plays an important role in your body and overall health. It helps maintain healthy bones, supports the immune system, regulates insulin levels, and supports cardiovascular health.

Lack of vitamin D has a negative effect on your well-being. It has been associated with a number of health issues and diseases – high blood pressure, achy bones and excessive sweating, just to name a few.

You may be at risk for vitamin D deficiency and not know it. Do you spend enough time outdoors? Do you have a darker skin tone? Are you eating foods high in vitamin D?

If you are at risk, or are currently undergoing the symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency, it’s important to spend time in the sun, as vitamin D is produced by the skin when it comes into contact with ultraviolet radiation from the sun. However, we can also get it through dietary sources as well.

Continue reading for 15 health risks and symptoms of vitamin D deficiency.

Risk Factor: Lifestyle

Shutterstock

Individuals who spend more time indoors and less time outside in the sun are at a higher risk for vitamin D deficiency. It’s important to expose your skin to the sun to reap the benefits of vitamin D.

Risk Factor: Skin Tone

Shutterstock

Research has shown that people with darker skin are more prone to lower levels of vitamin D. This is because they may have a lessened ability to synthesize vitamin D in response to sunlight. “If you have dark skin, you’ll need about 25 times more exposure time as a light skinned individual to produce the same amount of vitamin D,” according to Psychology Today.

Risk Factor: Age

Shutterstock

As we age, the ability to make vitamin D in the skin decreases (*See: Secret Ways to Fight the Signs of Aging). This is one of the reasons why elderly people are at higher risk for developing vitamin D deficiency. They are also more likely to sit in doors and less likely to use sunscreen compared to younger people.

Risk Factor: The Seasons

Shutterstock

In the summer, it is more likely that you will spend time outdoors in the sun, while in the winter months individuals tend to spend more time indoors, resulting in less vitamin D exposure.

Risk Factor: Health condition that prevents absorption of vitamin D

Shutterstock

Certain types of liver disease can reduce absorption of vitamin D, along with Crohn’s Disease and Gastric Bypass.

Symptom: Low immunity

Thinkstock

According to research, vitamin D deficiency is associated with increased autoimmunity as well as increased susceptibility to infection. Therefore, if you find that you tend to catch infections easily, this could be a sign that you are vitamin D deficient. Tip: Spend some time in the sun, it’s a great way to stimulate your immune systems vitamin D and T cells.

Symptom: Obesity

Thinkstock

Individuals who suffer from vitamin D deficiency may notice significant weight gain or suffer from obesity. Obesity has been linked to a number of health issues. Some of which include coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and osteoarthritis.

Symptom: Sleep Deprivation

Thinkstock

Fatigue is a common health risk of individuals who suffer from vitamin D deficiency. It has the ability to disrupt your sleep cycle, keep you awake, and worsen other disorders that may cause fatigue. Sleep deprivation can cause car accidents, depression, aging, weight gain and forgetfulness.

Symptom: Risk for heart disease

Pixabay

People who are vitamin D deficient have a higher risk for developing heart disease. According to The Vitamin Council, “a Harvard study found that people with low vitamin D levels had twice the risk of developing a heart attack compared to those with adequate vitamin D levels.”

Symptom: Depression

Thinkstock

Lack of the essential amount of vitamin D may cause depression. Vitamin D affects the amount of serotonin and the way in which it works in the brain. It influences our brains psychological function. Therefore, lack of serotonin causes a change in mood, behavior, sleep and appetite.

Symptom: Digestive problems

Thinkstock

Digestive problems - specifically the non-curable, inflammatory bowel disease, a disease that causes inflammation in the digestive tract - has been linked to vitamin D deficiency. It has been shown that people with inflammatory bowel disease are more likely to have lower levels of vitamin D, according to research.

Symptom: Brain damage

Thinkstock

We are already aware that vitamin D plays a crucial role in maintaining bone heath; however, some of us may not know that lack of vitamin D can cause damage to our brain. According to MNT, “researchers claim that vitamin D deficiency is increasing in the U.S. and its effects on an aging brain should not be underestimated.”

Symptom: Dementia

Shutterstock

Studies have shown that moderate-to-severe vitamin D deficiency in older adults has the ability to double the risk for some forms of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.

Symptom: Diabetes

Shutterstock

Type 2 diabetes is usually developed during adulthood; however, it has become common in children and teenagers as well. Studies have shown that individuals who have low vitamin D levels are at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life, and people who are newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes usually have lower levels of vitamin D than those without diabetes.

Symptom: Troubled Pregnancy

Shutterstock

Lack of vitamin D may cause a variety of issues for both the mother and baby. Research has shown it may cause infertility, preeclampsia and gestational diabetes for the mother, and the baby may suffer from impaired growth, seizures, type-1 diabetes and hypocalcemia.