Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D is naturally produced in the body when our skin is exposed to the ultraviolet rays of the sun. It can also come from fortified foods such as fish, animal liver, and even eggs. There are many benefits that come with Vitamin D and this includes prevention of osteoporosis, reducing the risk for allergies in both children and adults, decreasing risks for type 2 diabetes, and even reducing dental cavities. On the other hand, having insufficient supply of this vitamin in the body may also result to a lot of complications.

Symptoms and Diseases Associated with Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D Deficiency as its name implies is a condition wherein the body does not have enough of it to sustain overall wellness. This deficiency can result to a lot of other conditions varying from mild to serious conditions. Unfortunately, there is no clear information on symptoms that can be directly linked to this kind of deficiency. Some people may just be going about life without knowing that they have this condition but experts suggest that there are common symptoms in order to find out if they are lacking this vitamin or not, these are:

  • Fatigue or constant tiredness even without reason for being so
  • Having restless sleeps and poor concentration when awake
  • Headaches, pain in the muscles, muscle cramps, joint pains, and feeling weak
  • Gaining weight
  • Having high blood pressure
  • Constipation or diarrhea and bladder problems

Being that vitamin D Deficiency is common worldwide, it is important to know the kind of diseases that can be carried out by it. Health experts believe that this deficiency is almost always linked to every major diseases such as the following:

  • Breast, prostate, and colon cancer plus 14 other types of cancers
  • Osteoporosis – loss of tissue in the bone which causes for fragile and brittle bones
  • Osteopenia – decreased bone mass
  • Osteoarthritis – this results from joint cartilages that fails to regenerate
  • High blood pressure and heart disease
  • Abnormal functioning of the immune system or autoimmune diseases
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Alzheimer’s diseases
  • Multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, bursitis, fibromyalgia, periodontal disease
  • Gout
  • Infertility and Pre-Menstrual Syndrome
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Skin diseases such as psoriasis wherein the skin or the scalp itches and are marked with red, scaly patches
  • Rickets – the bones are weak and soft

Causes of Vitamin D Deficiency

The biggest cause for this deficiency really is lack of exposure to the sun as this is the main and major source for vitamin D. So for people who do not enjoy being out and exposed in the sun are definitely at risk for this deficiency including those who are older and frail. Experts also believe that those with darker skin may also be at high risk for this condition because of the melanin their skin produces which affects the penetration of the ultraviolet rays to the skin, so those with darker skin must have longer exposure than those who have lighter skin. Those who are obese, as experts believe, are also at risk for vitamin D deficiency because of poor metabolism. People who are taking medications and other drugs are also at risk for this condition as the drugs they are taking may interfere with the metabolism of vitamin D.

Treatments for Vitamin D Deficiency

Because Vitamin D proves to be an integral part in achieving optimum overall health, the Institute of Medicine or IOM has provided a guideline that people can follow in order to prevent having this kind of deficiency. This guideline is based on the assumption that the person is not getting enough sun exposure in order to achieve the proper amount of Vitamin D. As set in year 2010, the Recommended Daily Allowance for Vitamin D is the following:

  • For children to young adults aged 1 to 18: 600 International Units or I.U. daily
  • For adults 19 to 70 years of age: 600 I.U. daily
  • For elders aged 71 and above: 800 I.U. daily
  • Pregnant and lactating women: 600 I.U daily

Preventions for Vitamin D Deficiency

Although Vitamin D Deficiency does not show clear symptoms that can tell whether you have this condition or not, people have the option to go through ways in order to prevent this from happening. Here are some tips to prevent vitamin D deficiency:

1. Exposure to Sunlight


Try to get yourself exposed to the sun, without wearing any sunblock, even for just a few minutes. The best times to be out and to welcome the sun’s rays are during the first few hours of the morning between 6am to 8 am and during the late afternoon before the sun sets. Keep in mind that you are not after any kind of tanning so it is still important to take proper precaution when sunbathing.

2. Eating Foods Rich in Vitamin D


If you feel like you do not have the time to enjoy the sun, you can opt to go for vitamin D rich foods such as fish, dairy and eggs. Below are the types of foods and their equivalent vitamin D supplements:


Serving Size

Amount of Vitamin D

Cod Liver Oil

1 tablespoon

1,360 IU per serving

Swordfish, cooked

3 ounces

566 IU per serving

Sockeye Salmon, cooked

3 ounces

447 IU per serving

Tuna fish, canned in water, drained

3 ounces

154 IU per serving

Orange juice fortified with vitamin D

1 cup

137 IU per serving

Milk fortified with vitamin D

1 cup

115 to 124 IU per serving

Yogurts fortified with vitamin D

1 cup

80 IU per serving

Margarine fortified with vitamin D

1 tablespoon

60 IU per serving

Sardines, canned in oil

2 sardines

46 IU per serving

Liver, beef, cooked

3 ounces

42 IU per serving

Egg yolk

1 large egg

41 IU per serving