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If you spend your days in the office or play Fortnite for hours, you may want to go outside more often after you read this.

Also known as the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D is one of the most essential vitamins.
It helps absorbing calcium from food, ultimately leading to bone growth and strength. Vitamin D can also be obtained from diet but it’s difficult to get the right amount your body needs from food only.

Most adults are believed to be somewhat deficient in vitamin D. However, people with dark skin, people living in northern regions where there is less year-round sun exposure, people who are overweight, and people who spend most of the day indoors, have a greater chance of being deficient in vitamin D and experiencing the symptoms.

Vitamin D deficiency is linked to serious health problems, including osteoporosis, heart disease, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, high blood pressure, and problematic pregnancies. Therefore, it’s important to know the signs and react accordingly.

Signs you might be vitamin D deficient.

According to the Vitamin D council, symptoms of deficiency can be subtle in the early stages.
Symptoms such as pain and aches or tiredness are easy to dismiss because many other things can cause them.
Sore muscles? This could be a result of your last workout. Tiredness? Maybe you’re not getting enough quality sleep.

Therefore, it can be quite difficult to tell when you’re deficient in Vitamin D. Here are 13 signs that will help you know.

Muscle weakness or pain

In one study, 71% of people with chronic pain were found to be deficient.

Bone pain

Even though adults are no longer growing, new bone tissue is constantly being formed to replace the old. Severe vitamin D deficiency interferes with this process, leading to soft bones (osteomalacia or “adults rickets”) which causes pain and a higher risk of developing osteoporosis.

Constant respiratory problems

Several studies have observed a link between low vitamin D levels and respiratory tract infections such as asthma, bronchitis and pneumonia.

Depression

Depression is often linked to low vitamin D levels. That is why we often experience the ‘winter blues’, as we don’t get enough sunlight, hence provoking a vitamin D deficiency. This nutrient helps you produce serotonin, affecting your feeling of happiness.

Infertility

Some studies suggest that low levels of vitamin D might play a role in the development of polycystic ovary syndrome, a leading cause of female infertility.

Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a skin condition that present itself as scaly rash on your body. Although it may not be always connected to a lack of vitamin D, this will make it harder for your body to defend itself against psoriasis.

Chronic pain

There is a link between chronic pain and low levels of vitamin D. This may be due to the interaction between the vitamin and pain-sensing nerve cells called nociceptors.

Tiredness

Often overlooked, fatigue can be a sign of vitamin D deficiency. Taking supplements may reverse this in just a few days. The thing with tiredness is that it can lead to a vicious circle. You feel tired, so you go out less, exercise less, and you become even more susceptible to issues like mood swings or depression due to the lack of vitamin D.

Hypertension

Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with hypertension. Vitamin D supplements are a treatment for patients suffering from hypertension or prehypertension.

Bad Mood

We’ve already touched on this: vitamin D affect serotonin levels in your brain which affects your mood. Studies have found that supplementing improves it.

Reduced endurance

If you noticed that your endurance has decreased for no reason, you might be vitamin D deficient. This nutrient is essential to energy levels.

Hair loss

Although mostly attributed to stress, vitamin D deficiency has been linked to hair loss as well.

Getting sick often

Keeping your immune system strong is one of vitamin D’s most important role. With enough vitamin D in your body, you’re able to fight viruses and bacteria.
If you get sick often, low levels of vitamin D may be the reason why.

 

If you think you’re having any of these symptoms, ask your GP to test your vitamin D levels. Getting this blood test is the only accurate way to know for sure.

How to get more vitamin D?

The best way to get your daily dose of vitamin D is to expose your bare skin in the sun. That means without sunscreen or anything that will block UV lights and prevent you from getting vitamin D. The more skin you expose, the more vitamin D you get.

You don’t need to burn to get vitamin D. This can even be quite dangerous.
If you have skin problems, I suggest you take vitamin D supplements instead, as sun exposure can be damaging and lead to serious consequences.
If you want to check your vitamin D levels yourself before visiting your Doctor’s office, home tests are available. These will screen your blood and possibly show you if you are deficient and need to make some changes. Of course, nothing is better than your regular check-up at the doctor’s office but these can come in handy.

For more information about vitamin D, visit the vitamin D council’s website

Final word: Listen to what your body tells you. Often, simple changes are enough to reverse the symptoms.