20-05-2021 / Health and Fitness

Vitamin D Deficiency: Symptoms, Dietary Sources

Vitamin D is required to maintain our body’s health and support the basic functioning of the organs. Vitamin D is also called Sunshine Vitamin. This article discusses the deficiency symptoms and natural sources of vitamin D

Vitamin D Deficiency: Symptoms, Dietary Sources
Mazia AhmedMazia Ahmed

Mazia Ahmed

MSc Nutrition Science, Ph.D. Scholar

Table of Contents

Introduction

  • There are a large number of vitamins and minerals that are essential for basic functioning and also to possess basic human characteristics. Vitamins are mere organic molecules that support human living and make them capable of fulfilling their daily needs by doing appropriate functioning. It is understood that the vital nutrients and vitamins are not produced in the body on their own, i.e., they aren't self-synthesized. Even if some of these nutrients are generated in the body, they may not be sufficient to satisfy the body's needs. Thus, these nutrients can be extracted from external sources such as natural resources, diet, etc.

  • As we all know, if the human body lacks a nutrient or cannot get the required quantity, the person is advised to get the required dosage via supplementation like multivitamin tablets, etc. Therefore, we need to understand the importance of different kinds of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. This reading will help you understand everything about Vitamin D, which is one of the nutrients that many people neglect. We will talk about the importance of the nutrient and why & how it can affect the human body.

  • Vitamin D is responsible for the functioning of several body organs and is known for acting as a hormone as all the cells present in the human body have the relevant receptors. Vitamin D is required to maintain our body’s health and support the basic functioning of the organs. Vitamin D is also called "Sunshine Vitamin," and its reason will be discussed later.

Vitamin D in India Infographic

3 Benefits of Vitamin D

Vitamin D, the fat-soluble vitamin, has one proper function and ability to absorb essential nutrients, including calcium, phosphate, and magnesium. Vitamin D can be understood in a better way by knowing about its benefits and application. Following are some of the benefits of having an adequate level of Vitamin D.

1. Strengthening of Bones and Muscles

This vitamin is responsible for promoting healthy bones and building muscle strength. The logic behind it can be explained by studying the basic utility of Vitamin D, i.e., to absorb and regulate the calcium in the body. It also helps in preventing bone-related diseases and possesses several benefits for people of higher age groups.

2. Betterment of Immune system

Medical experts recommend the adequate intake of Vitamin D to people with weak immunity systems. It helps the immune system to thoroughly fight against bacteria, influenza, and several kinds of viruses.

3. Fight Diseases

Vitamin D is considered a foolproof cure for many diseases such as diabetes (both Type 1 and 2), high blood pressure, depression, etc. Curing these diseases can help prevent the risk of other lethal situations like organ failure, etc. Vitamin D is also considered a remedy for losing weight and is recommended to obese people to stay under decent body weight.

3 Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D deficiency symptoms are not very exclusive but can still help us get ensured about the deficiency. Let us give a thought about how to know if a person is prone to getting deficient in Vitamin D:

1. Depression

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People with inadequate Vitamin D are known to have problems like depression. Feeling low can be an indicator of Vitamin D deficiency.

2. Hair Loss

People with Vitamin D deficiency are prone to suffer from hair loss. Falling of hair due to loosened hair roots is a symbol of the deficiency of Vitamin D.

3. Fatigue and Muscle Pain

Experiencing low energy for a reasonable amount of time can be a symptom that is indicating towards the inadequate amount of Vitamin D in the body.

There are a large number of factors that affect the possibility and risk of Vitamin D deficiency. These factors help to determine if a person has a chance to develop the deficiency of Vitamin D. Age, skin color, geographical details, lifestyle changes, habits, body weight, health background, diet, etc. are some of the factors that can determine the possibility and assess the degree of risk involved.

5 Dietary Sources of Vitamin D

Vitamin D Food Source

  • Apart from these discussed benefits, factors, and symptoms, there are several other important aspects of the body's adequate Vitamin D. It is understood that consuming a required amount of Vitamin D can help you achieve several health benefits. But it is essential to know the sources of Vitamin D and how an individual should fulfill the body requirement.

  • Vitamin D can be sourced from several ways like both naturally and, if needed, supplementation too. Diet plays a vital role in a person's life. Having a healthy diet schedule and a holistic way of eating can fetch benefits in your daily lives.

  • Here are some of the dietary sources that are known as the powerhouse of Vitamin D:

1. Fish

Vitamin D deficient people can rely on some fishes like Tuna, Salmon, Swordfish, etc. These fishes are a good source of healthy fats and oils. They are highly recommended to people with inadequate Vitamin D. Cod liver is an excellent source of Vitamin D. Almost every health expert recommends its intake to maintain a good Vitamin D level.

2. Eggs

As we know, the egg is an excellent source of protein. The egg yolk has an incredible amount of Vitamin D and must be consumed if a person faces lowered Vitamin D level.

3. Orange Juice

One of the most typical sources of Vitamin D is orange juice which is readily available too. There are some healthy brands as well that are providing orange juice without mixing artificial sugar. However, the natural form is always prescribed when it comes to fruit juices.

4. Mushrooms

Again, mushrooms can be easily sourced from the grocery markets and regularly consumed by a person facing a low level of Vitamin D.

5. Milk

  • Milk is loaded with a good amount of Vitamin D and can be added to the daily diet regime of a deficient person. Soy Milk, Almond Milk, etc., can be chosen among the different types of milk available.

  • Other well-known foods that help normalize the Vitamin D levels in the body comprise cereals, beef, cheese, etc. Another dimension of dietary remedy is the quantity. The quantity of Vitamin D consumed by a human body is measured in International Units (IUs). One must be aware of the IU levels of Vitamin D present in a food item to achieve its required level. Having a rough idea of IUs in food can help you consume a good amount of Vitamin D.

Is Vitamin D really a Sunshine Vitamin?

Sunlight, the god’s gift, is the best source of Vitamin D. When the human skin comes in contact with the sunlight, an optimum amount of Vitamin D is transferred to the human body. In today's time, many of us are afraid to come into direct contact with the sun and tend to use sunscreen daily. This prevents the sunlight from penetrating human skin. Thus, we fail to receive the optimum amount of Vitamin D. Therefore, it is recommended to stay in morning sunlight for at least 15 minutes every day. However, this is contrary to the common belief that greater sun exposure creates a higher risk of skin cancer. Thus, we need to find a balance of getting enough sun every day so that the Vitamin D level remains satisfying and the risk of other skin diseases also shouldn't arise.

Dietary Supplement of Vitamin D

Apart from these natural sources of Vitamin D, there are many dietary supplements to fulfill the body requirement. Please note that these are only supplementations and shouldn't be prioritized over natural sources of Vitamin D. Multivitamins are the common supplements that support the human body in case of deficiency. D2 and D3 are the two forms of Vitamin D that can be sourced from multivitamins. Being a fat-soluble vitamin, D2 (Ergocalciferol) and D3 (Cholecalciferol) are recommended to be consumed along with a bit of fat food.

Word of Wisdom

We must prioritize relying on the natural sources of Vitamin D rather than choosing the supplements in the first place. Remember to soak some sun every day as the maximum requirement will itself be fulfilled. It is easy to normalize the Vitamin D levels in the body and control further damage. If a person faces some of the above-stated symptoms, then help from a medical expert is recommended.


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