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9 Warning Signs of Vitamin D Deficiency

by Cindy Gray

As far back as the 1930s, doctors first recognized the link between vitamin D deficiency and the skeletal disease called rickets, which causes a softening of the bones and teeth.

Today, new research has shed light on many other illnesses which appear to be caused by more subtle forms of vitamin D deficiency.

The term vitamin D refers to both vitamin D2, which we typically get from our diet, and vitamin D3, which is manufactured by our skin when exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D's main function in the body is to regulate blood levels of calcium and phosphorous.

This vital nutrient is found at the highest concentrations in fatty fish such as tuna, mackerel and salmon. Some mushrooms are also high in vitamin D.

While our skin cells do make some of the vitamin D that we need, sun exposure alone may not be enough, so supplementation may be required. Factors such as skin color, the time of year, the angle of the sun, cloud cover, pollution levels and the use of sunscreen can greatly limit the amount of vitamin D made by our skin.

Some people who have vitamin D deficiency may not have any symptoms. Others may experience restless sleep, muscle cramps, general fatigue, joint pain, muscle pain or weakness, inability to concentrate, headaches, constipation or diarrhea and bladder problems.

Here are nine serious medical conditions that have been linked to vitamin D deficiency:

  1. Asthma - daily vitamin D supplementation has been shown to lessen asthma attacks and reduce their severity

  2. Depression - vitamin D deficiencies have been linked to depression and other psychiatric illnesses. Getting enough D during pregnancy has been shown to lessen the chances that the unborn child will develop mental illness later in life

  3. Heart disease - is much more common in people deficient in vitamin D

  4. High blood pressure (BP) - has been associated with deficiencies in calcium, magnesium, potassium and vitamin D

  5. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) - vitamin D can ease the pain and stiffness associated with RA, a devastating disease that causes systemic inflammation, severe pain and joint damage

  6. Multiple sclerosis (MS) - the farther from the equator you live and the less sun exposure you get, the more likely you are to develop MS, suggesting a strong link between MS and vitamin D

  7. Cancer risk - has been strongly linked to D deficiencies, including breast cancer, prostate cancer and colon cancer

  8. Periodontal disease - inflammation of the gums can cause pain, bleeding and tooth loss. Vitamin D helps to lower the number of harmful mouth bacteria

  9. Diabetes - poor blood sugar control may be a symptom of vitamin D deficiency, leading to an increased risk of developing diabetes

Given the many health risks of not having enough vitamin D in your body, perhaps it’s time to supplement your diet with this vital nutrient right away?

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