5 signs that indicate you might be dangerously deficient in vitamin D
By NCVC Staff | Published on Oct 10, 2023
Did you know that vitamin D deficiency has become a hot topic, especially during the monsoon season? It’s not just idle chatter, though. The truth is, the lack of sun exposure can lead to a deficiency in this essential nutrient, as it plays hide and seek with us in many parts of the country.
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You might be wondering, why all the fuss about this particular vitamin? Well, there’s a good reason. A study published in the Journal of Family Medicine and Family Care in 2018 revealed that 80 to 90% of people in India, across all age groups, suffer from vitamin D deficiency. This deficiency can contribute to a range of health issues, including autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and tuberculosis. So it’s clear that maintaining optimal vitamin D levels is crucial for our overall well-being.
Interestingly, recent research has shown that vitamin D deficiency can also worsen the severity of a COVID-19 infection. A study published in the Elsevier Public Health Emergency Collection highlighted this connection. It’s no wonder that vitamin D has become a buzzword in the field of nutrition.
But what causes vitamin D deficiency in the first place? Unhealthy diets and sedentary lifestyles are certainly contributing factors. However, according to Dr. Rakesh Nair, an orthopedic surgeon at Zen Super Specialty Hospital in Mumbai, the primary reason behind this deficiency is lack of sun exposure.
Dr. Nair explains, “We spend most of our time indoors, whether at the office or home. Even when we go out, it’s usually in the evening when there is no sun. This leads to vitamin D deficiency. Sunlight is crucial for activating the absorption process of vitamin D, which is why we need it every day.”
He also advises, “You can expose yourself to the sun at any time of the day. Just keep in mind that if you have a dusky skin tone, the melanin in your skin acts as a barrier to sunlight.”
Unfortunately, even younger patients between the ages of 20 and 25 are now suffering from vitamin D deficiency-related issues, such as body aches. This makes it essential to be aware of the signs of deficiency so that you can take action before it becomes a serious problem.
Here are five alarming signs that might indicate a vitamin D deficiency:
1. Slow Recovery from Injuries
When young individuals start their fitness journey, vitamin D deficiency can hamper their recovery process. Exercise causes wear and tear on muscles, which is essential for achieving a toned body. However, without adequate vitamin D, the recovery process slows down, delaying the desired results.
Dr. Nair emphasizes, “Inadequate recovery is a common issue, with around 80 to 90% of patients experiencing vitamin D deficiency. Elderly individuals often experience delayed recovery due to a lack of vitamin D-rich foods in their earlier years. I would recommend ensuring sufficient vitamin D levels before hitting the gym. It’s also advisable to get tested to know the extent of your deficiency.”
2. Weak Muscles and Soreness
In today’s sedentary lifestyle, lack of movement combined with insufficient vitamin D intake can create a painful situation. Prolonged sitting due to work-related demands further aggravates the problem. If you frequently experience backaches, there’s a high chance that you might be deficient in vitamin D.
3. Slow Healing of Wounds
Vitamin D deficiency not only affects your overall healing process but also delays the healing of wounds.
4. Hair Loss
Studies published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences have found a link between hair loss and vitamin D deficiency. Both men and women can experience alopecia due to insufficient vitamin D. The research suggests that a lack of vitamin D leads to a decrease in the serum that helps reduce hair fall. If you’ve tried various remedies to prevent hair loss without success, it might be time to soak up some vitamin D from the sun.
5. Shortness of Breath
Respiratory ailments, not just COVID-19, can be worsened by a lack of vitamin D. It makes you more susceptible to respiratory allergies and irritations of the respiratory tract. During the monsoon season, when pollen, fungi, and other bacteria are present in the air, the chances of suffering from allergies increase, as confirmed by a study published in the International Archives of Allergy and Immunology.
Remember, vitamin D deficiency can weaken your ability to fight infections. Dr. Nair advises, “A balanced diet and exposure to the sun are essential. Although supplements are available, consuming vitamin D-rich foods such as egg yolk, fish (like mackerel or sardines), and cheese are good alternatives. Simply relying on milk alone won’t suffice. So, incorporate these three foods into your diet, and you’ll be on the safe side when it comes to maintaining adequate vitamin D levels.”
So now, my dear readers, you’re well-informed about the importance of vitamin D and where to find it!