Vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin, is produced by the body as a response to sunlight exposure. It can also be found in very limited food such as some fish and egg yolks. They can also be found in fortified dairy as well as grain products. Vitamin D is one of the most important vitamins as it helps develop strong bones by aiding the body to use calcium from the foods we eat.
Vitamin D deficiency has been related to rickets. Rickets is a condition where the bone tissue in the body does not mineralize resulting to skeletal deformities and soft bones.
The Afro-American has a lower population mean of serum 25 (OH) D level compared to the whites. However, it was also found out that supplements work better in this population compared to white-skinned Americans.
It is important for people to know the importance of vitamin D for general well-being so that proper dose of this vitamin will be provided. Many people think that vitamin D can simply be obtained by eating foods that contain them, however, the best way to get your much needed dose of vitamin D is through proper sun exposure. Knowing the different vitamin D deficiency symptoms as well as how to overcome Vitamin D deficiency is essential too!
5 Facts About Vitamin D Deficiency
- 1-18 years old children who are having vitamin D deficiency must undergo a treatment of 2,000 IU/d vitamin D3 for not less than six weeks, or 50,000 IU once per week for six weeks to get the blood level of 25 (OH) D above 30ng/ml. This treatment should be followed by a maintenance therapy of 600-1,000 IU daily.
- Adults, on the other hand, should be treated with 50,000 IU vitamin D3 once per week for eight weeks or 6,000 IU daily to get the blood level of 25 (OH) D above 30ng/ml. Maintenance therapy will be 1,500-2,000 IU daily for adults.
- Vitamin D deficiency in India has a varying prevalence rate between 30% to 100%.
- Vitamin D deficiency is also reported in large scale studies from many countries all around the globe. Places affected are United States, South America, Canada, Europe, Australia, South Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
- China, South America, India and the Middle East have been reported that severe vitamin D deficiency is common.
Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency
Bone pain and muscle weakness can mean that you are deficient of vitamin D. However, these symptoms may be subtle for many people and tend to be ignored. Low levels of vitamin D is also associated with other diseases such as cancer, severe asthma (children), increased death risk for people with cardiovascular disease and cognitive impairment for older people. Hence, if you ever observe these following signs and symptoms, you might already be having troubles with your vitamin D levels.
- Low immune system which makes you often sick
- Fatigue and low energy levels
- Pain felt at the back
- Bone pain
- Bone loss or low bone mineral density
- Alopecia or the loss of hair
- Delayed wound healing
- Muscle pain
How To Overcome Vitamin D Deficiency Quickly?
Getting rid of vitamin D deficiencies only needs more vitamin D intake. You may be able to get additional vitamin D through sun exposure, eating the right kind of foods, as well as intake of vitamin D supplements.
- The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for vitamin D is 600 IU for people aging 1-70 years old; 800 IU for people older than 70 years old. However, the maximum dosage that is considered safe to take is up to 4000 IU. Physicians may also advise more than 4000 IU to help treat those with an already existing vitamin D deficiency.
If you choose a supplemental vitamin D, it is best to use vitamin D3 compared to vitamin D2. Vitamin D2 does not raise your vitamin levels as D3 does. In some cases, they also show a decrease in vitamin levels once used for a long period of time. If you believe that you lack vitamin D in your body, it is always a best choice to keep in touch with your doctor and get your blood levels measured for better treatment.
Go Out and Show Your Skin To Sun
Sunlight is the #1 factor in getting the right amount of vitamin D. 20 minutes of sunlight is good enough for your body to get its needed vitamin D for a week. Make sure that you expose yourself properly to the sun too and in just a right amount depending on your skin type.
Fair skinned people can get vitamin D easily compared to dark skinned ones, hence, they do not need to stay out for long. 10-15 minutes of direct exposure to sunlight without the use of sunscreen is already good for fair to medium colored people. While if you have a dark skin tone, some experts would recommend 40 minutes to an hour of sun exposure daily.
Consume More Vitamin D Rich Foods
Eating the right kind of foods will surely help increase your vitamin D levels and overcome vitamin D deficiency symptoms. Foods that are rich in this vitamin include yogurt, kefir, raw cheese, egg yolk and some fish (wild salmon, halibut, mackerel, tuna and rainbow trout). Mushroom is also one of the best sources of vitamin D.
Foods fortified with vitamin D can also help. Make sure to check the dietary label when you buy food products in the market. Products fortified with the D vitamin are usually yogurt, orange juice, milk, cereals, bread and other soy products like tofu and soy milk.
Vitamin D deficiency is actually preventable as long as we just get our right dose of sunshine and get the diet we need. Supplements may not really be necessary as long as you get your recommended dose daily. However, if you know that you don’t get as much as vitamin D as you should, then you can try taking supplemental vitamin D for your good health.