Vitamin D is important because it helps the body use calcium from the diet. Traditionally, a lack of Vitamin D has been associated with rickets, a disease that causes soft bones and skeletal deformities. However researchers are finding that there are other health risks related to a lack of Vitamin D as well.
Benefits of Vitamin D
There are a number of reasons that it is important to have an adequate level of vitamin D in the body.
One is that vitamin D is important to help the body absorb enough calcium and phosphorus from the diet. Most of us are aware of how important calcium is to our bodies for healthy bones. But, personally, I had not realized how important phosphorus also is. Phosphorus is also important for healthy bones and joints, for cell growth and repair, and for proper energy levels. It also helps maintain heart regularity, protect the body from cancer, and helps metabolize fats and starches. So a deficiency in vitamin D, could also lead to a deficiency in phosphorus and calcium, causing even more problems.
Symptoms and Risks of Vitamin D Deficiency
Some of the symptoms of low vitamin d levels are joint and bone pain, muscle cramps and weakness, tingling, dental deformities, weakness, fatigue, depression and anxiety. Vitamin D deficiency also increases the risk of cancer and auto-immune disorders.
Causes of Vitamin D Deficiency
There are a number of reasons vitamin D levels can be low.
One reason is too little time spent in sunlight. Sunlight is an important source of vitamin D. And even if there is plenty of sun exposure, using sunscreen limits the amount of Vitamin D the skin can produce.
A strict vegan diet can also contribute to low levels of Vitamin D since most Vitamin D is found in animal based foods including fish and fish oils, cheese and egg yolks.
Sometimes there are medical reasons the body does not produce enough Vitamin D. Crohn's disease, cystic fibrosis, and Celiac disease interfere with the body's ability to absorb Vitamin D.
If Vitamin D levels are low a doctor may prescribe prescription strength vitamin D for eight to twelve weeks and then check again to see if it has brought the level up where it needs to be. Vitamin D injections are also available.
I did this research on this subject because I was recently diagnosed with low vitamin D. After I told my doctor about my increasingly worse muscle pain, bone and joint pain, dizziness, and fatigue she ordered a number of blood tests including the test for vitamin D. Some of the other things she was also looking at were Lupus, Multiple Sclerosis, Diabetes, and Rhuematoid Arthritis. However all my tests came back absolutely normal except for the vitamin D. I am amazed at how bad one can feel from low levels of this vitamin. There were days I just wanted to sit down and cry because everything hurt so bad but I didn't look sick, no fever, no redness or swelling, just pain. I almost wondered if it was just all in my head, and yet I knew it wasn't. I just started on the high dosage of vitamin D and I'm looking forward to feeling better.
Vitamin D Deficiency - Symptoms, Causes, and Health Risks
This post should not take the place of medical advice. Please to talk to your health care providers about any medical problems you may have.