Why does the body need vitamin D?
Before we go into specific symptoms of vitamin D deficiency, it may first be important to understand why we need vitamin D. Here are some of the main features:
- Calcium balance: Vitamin D plays a crucial role in the regulation of calcium levels in the body. It helps increase the absorption of calcium in the intestines and promotes the absorption of calcium in the kidneys. This helps maintain normal levels of calcium in the blood, which is important for supporting bone health and function.
- Bone health: Vitamin D is essential for the formation and mineralization of bones and teeth. It helps regulate the production and activity of calcium-binding proteins in bones, which helps maintain a strong bone structure and prevent osteoporosis and the risk of fractures.
- Immune function: Vitamin D plays a role in the function of the immune system. It contributes to regulating and modulating the activity of the immune system by influencing the production and function of various cells of the immune system. This can help prevent and fight infections and autoimmune diseases.
- Muscle function: Vitamin D is important for normal muscle function. It can affect muscle contraction, muscle strength and muscle coordination. Lack of vitamin D can result in muscle weakness, muscle pain and increased risk of falls and fractures in the elderly.
- Heart health: Research has linked vitamin D deficiency to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Vitamin D can affect blood pressure, regulate inflammation and have beneficial effects on the heart muscle and blood vessels.
What is the cause of vitamin D deficiency?
Vitamin D deficiency can occur for various reasons. A common factor, especially in Sweden, is a lack of sunlight. When the skin is exposed to sunlight, vitamin D is naturally formed in the body. If we have a limited supply of sunlight, the body's production of vitamin D can decrease. There are also diseases that affect the intestine's ability to absorb nutrients, including vitamin D. If the intestine cannot absorb enough vitamin D from the diet, it can lead to a deficiency. It is also important to remember that the body's ability to produce vitamin D is individual and varies widely. For example, people with darker skin tones are at greater risk of vitamin D deficiency because it is more difficult for the body to produce enough vitamin D from the sun. Older people also have a reduced ability to produce and use vitamin D effectively.
Common symptoms of vitamin D deficiency
Vitamin D deficiency in adults usually develops gradually and the symptoms are often non-specific. In more serious cases, long-term and severe vitamin D deficiency can cause symptoms in the form of softer or more fragile bones, but here are some of the most common symptoms:
- Fatigue and exhaustion: Feeling excessive tiredness and lack of energy may be linked to vitamin D deficiency.
- Muscle weakness: A feeling of weakness and reduced strength in the muscles can be an early sign of vitamin D deficiency.
- Pain in muscles and joints: Non-specific pain and tenderness in muscles and joints can be common with Vitamin D deficiency.
- Impaired immune function: Frequent infections and an increased susceptibility to common diseases can be a result of impaired immune function due to vitamin D deficiency.
- Depression and depression: Research has shown a link between vitamin D deficiency and increased risk of depression and depression.
- Bone and joint pain: Vitamin D deficiency can contribute to bone and joint pain, including osteoporosis and increased risk of fractures.
- Impaired healing ability: Vitamin D plays a role in the healing process, so a deficiency can affect the ability to heal wounds and injuries.
- Reduced bone mass: Vitamin D deficiency can lead to reduced bone mass and increased risk of osteoporosis.
- Decreased appetite: Some people with vitamin D deficiency may experience a decreased appetite and thus have difficulty getting enough nutrition.
- Cognitive problems: Studies have linked vitamin D deficiency to cognitive problems, including memory loss and impaired cognitive function.
Treatment of vitamin D deficiency?
Treatment obviously differs from person to person, but it is often enough to ensure that the intake of vitamin D is increased. Either in the form of regular supplements or medicines with, sometimes calcium supplements can also be given at the same time. To facilitate the absorption of the vitamin, a certain amount of fat is required because vitamin D is fat-soluble. Medicines with vitamin D therefore contain fatty acids. It is important to note that regular dietary supplements do not contain these fatty acids and should therefore be taken at the same time as meals.
Can I test my vitamin D level?
Yes, you can test your vitamin D levels through a blood test. A blood test can measure the concentration of vitamin D in the form of 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D], which is the most common way to assess vitamin D status. There are two main forms of 25(OH)D that are measured: 25(OH)D'2 and 25(OH)D3. It is important to note that the reference ranges for vitamin D levels can vary. Here you can read more about the vitamin D test that we offer: D vitamin test.