Vitamin D is a fat-soluble nutrient. It is also known as the “sunshine vitamin” because it is synthesized by the body through exposure to the sun. Vitamin D deficiency symptoms occur through inadequate dietary consumption coupled with inadequate exposure to sunlight. In certain liver and kidney disorders, vitamin D is not converted into its active form.
Vitamin D regulates the amount of calcium and phosphorus in the blood, and their absorption by the intestines. It helps with bone formation and mineralization, thus building a complete and strong skeleton.
Deficiency of vitamin D can cause a wide range of interconnected effects on our body. The following is a list of the most common disorders and symptoms of vitamin D deficiency:
1. Rickets: This is generally a childhood disease, but it can also occur in adults. It is characterized by deformed, long bones in the legs and arms, and stumped growth. There is an increased tendency for fractures and muscle weakness. Such changes during childhood can have serious problems in the growth and integrity of the skeletal system. Breast-fed infants may not get enough vitamin D from breast milk alone. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends vitamin D supplements for infants, starting at two months.
2. Osteomalacia: It occurs exclusively in adults. Deficiency of vitamin D results in defective bone mineralization which causes softening of the bones. Symptoms could include muscle weakness, fragility of bones, and body pain. This disease starts as aches and pains in the lower back region and thighs, and spreads to the arms and ribs. Proximal muscles become weak which may result in difficulty climbing stairs.
3. Osteoporosis: This condition results from the reduction of bone mineral density, which increases the risk of fracture. It does not have any significant symptoms of its own, but makes the bones susceptible to fractures; especially the bones of vertebral column, hip, and wrist.
4. Fatigue: It is considered the first sign of a deficiency of vitamin D. Low levels of energy are generally attributed to stress and a busy schedule, so the thought of a vitamin D deficiency is often overlooked.
5. Changes in sleep pattern: This is a common symptom of vitamin D deficiency that tends to be overlooked. Stress and other factors are usually associated with changes in sleep pattern, but a constant feeling of low energy and feeling like you can barely keep your eyes open during the daytime can be symptoms of vitamin D deficiency.
A deficiency of vitamin D may weaken the immune system and cause the body to lose the capacity to fight bacteria and viruses. It is also an established fact that a deficiency of vitamin D may cause mood swings.
It is important to identify symptoms of vitamin D deficiency before they effect your body and life.
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