We need to talk about Vitamin D.
Lately, I've seen a lot of clients with low Vitamin D (we confirm this via a blood test based on their presenting signs and symptoms). It's such an extremely important vitamin (yet actually acts like a hormone), and because it has some pretty powerful effects on effects on several systems throughout your body (
What is vitamin D?
Vitamin D is both a vitamin and a hormone essential for healthy bodily function. Often nicknamed "the sunshine vitamin," vitamin D mostly enters our bodies via the sun, which is absorbed by our skin and converted into a usable form by cholesterol. You can also get some vitamin D from specific foods (mainly oily fish), and vitamin D supplements are popular for people who aren't able to get their fix from sunshine or food (which, it turns out, is a lot of us).
The recommended daily intake (RDI) is usually around 400–800 IU, but many experts say you should get even more than that.
Vitamin D deficiency is very common. It’s estimated that about 1 billion people worldwide have low levels of the vitamin in their blood (
Here are 7 common risk factors for vitamin D deficiency:
Having dark skin.
Being overweight or obese.
A diet low in eating fish.
Living far from the equator where there is little sun year-round.
Here are 8 signs and symptoms of vitamin D deficiency.
One of vitamin D’s most important roles is keeping your immune system strong so you’re able to fight off viruses and bacteria that cause illness. It directly interacts with the cells that are responsible for fighting infection (
2. Fatigue and tiredness
Feeling tired can have many causes, and vitamin D deficiency may be one of them. Unfortunately, it’s often overlooked as a potential cause. Case studies have shown that very low blood levels can cause fatigue that has a severe negative effect on quality of life (3, 4).
3. Bone and back pain
Vitamin D helps maintain bone health in a number of ways. For one, it improves your body’s absorption of calcium. Bone pain and lower back pain may be signs of inadequate vitamin D levels in the blood.
A depressed mood may also be a sign of vitamin D deficiency. In review studies, researchers have linked vitamin D deficiency to depression, particularly in older adults (
5. Impaired wound healing
Slow healing of wounds after surgery or injury may be a sign that your vitamin D levels are too low. Results from a test-tube study suggest that the vitamin increases the production of compounds that are crucial for forming new skin as part of the wound-healing process (7).
6. Hair loss
Hair loss is often attributed to stress, which is certainly a common cause. However, when hair loss is severe, it may be the result of a disease or nutrient deficiency. Hair loss in women has been linked to low vitamin D levels, though there is very little research on this to date (
7. Muscle Pain
The causes of muscle pain are often difficult to pinpoint. There is some evidence that vitamin D deficiency may be a potential cause of muscle pain in children and adults (
How do you get more Vitamin D
Some foods also contain vitamin D, such as shiitake and button mushrooms (you can even leave mushrooms in the sun to elevate their vitamin D levels), mackerel, salmon, cod liver oil, sardines, and eggs, but chances are you aren't consuming them in high enough quantities to meet all of your nutritional requirements.