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10 signs you're low on vitamin D

Vitamin D enables healthy functioning of the body's nervous and immune systems. Watch out for these common signs that indicate a deficiency in this essential nutrient

Low vitamin D levels can trigger hair loss and eczema (Unsplash/Roman Iv)

By PTI

LAST PUBLISHED 05.03.2024  |  08:54 AM IST

Vitamin D is essential for maintaining overall health as it helps regulate calcium levels in the blood and supports bone health. It facilitates the absorption of calcium and phosphorus for bone formation and tissue health. Additionally, vitamin D contributes to the proper functioning of the nervous, immune, and musculoskeletal systems. 

Also read: What you need to know before you pop that multivitamin pill

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A vitamin D deficiency can result in a wide range of symptoms from a weakened immune system to depression and anxiety. Here are a few of the most common symptoms and signs that suggest that you are low on vitamin D.

1. Higher susceptibility to illnesses: Vitamin D strengthens the immune system by directly engaging with the cells that combat infections. If you fall ill frequently or experience severe symptoms from minor infections, a deficiency in vitamin D could be a contributing factor.

2. Fatigue: While the exact reason for feeling tired or fatigued due to low levels of vitamin D remains uncertain, several studies have indicated that individuals who take vitamin D supplements often report a reduction in fatigue and an enhancement in overall energy levels.

3. Depression and anxiety: While research findings vary regarding whether consuming vitamin D supplements can alleviate existing symptoms of depression, numerous studies and reviews have indicated that individuals deficient in vitamin D may face a higher likelihood of experiencing depressive episodes.

4. Back pain: A decrease in muscle strength can result in heightened stress on your back and neck muscles, potentially leading to back pain. Lower back pain, in particular, is frequently reported by individuals with vitamin D deficiencies.

5. Muscle weakness and pain: Vitamin D is essential for muscle function. Insufficient levels of vitamin D may heighten the chances of experiencing symptoms like decreased muscle tone, muscle atrophy (loss of muscle mass), weakness, and pain. Diminished muscle mass and strength can also increase the risk of falling.

6. Osteoporosis and bone fractures: Vitamin D is crucial for absorbing calcium and maintaining strong, dense bones. Inadequate levels can result in osteomalacia in adults, a condition where the bones become soft. This leads to reduced bone density, increasing the risk of osteoporosis and fractures (broken bones).

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7. Hair loss: Vitamin D plays a significant role in regulating the hair cycle, including the growth of new hair. Consequently, a deficiency may slow down hair growth. Alopecia, an autoimmune disorder resulting in hair loss, has been associated with lower levels of vitamin D. Some studies suggest that topical vitamin D treatments can help alleviate symptoms of alopecia.

8. Weight gain: Low levels of vitamin D can contribute to weight gain. Individuals with obesity, characterised by excess fat cells, are significantly more likely to have a vitamin D deficiency compared to those without obesity. The storage of vitamin D in adipose (fat) tissue may explain why individuals with obesity often have lower levels of vitamin D in their blood. Fat cells tend to retain vitamins and do not release them efficiently into the bloodstream.

9. Impaired wound healing: Delayed wound healing following surgery or injury could indicate low levels of vitamin D. This delay may occur because vitamin D promotes the production of essential compounds necessary for the formation of new skin during the wound-healing process. Additionally, vitamin D plays a role in regulating inflammation and combating infections, both of which are crucial for effective healing.

10. Eczema: Vitamin D is recognised to influence the skin barrier function and immune system, both vital aspects in the onset of eczema. Eczema encompasses a group of chronic skin conditions characterised by skin inflammation, irritation, and swelling. Reduced blood serum levels of vitamin D have been linked to heightened frequency and severity of eczema symptoms. 

Vitamin D is a crucial nutrient that provides numerous essential benefits for your bones, muscles, nerves, and immune system. Watch out for these signs and get a vitamin D test done to get your levels checked.

Also read: Why Indians need to reject ultra processed foods