Lack of vitamin D: causes, symptoms and consequences

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Vitamin D is very important for health, it is a fat-soluble vitamin that fulfills different functions in the body. One of them is to serve as a vehicle for the absorption of calcium, a fundamental mineral for the growth and development of bones, with the aim of keeping them strong and healthy over the years. Also, without vitamin D, calcium cannot be absorbed and, in adults, it causes a process of gradual bone demineralization. This ends up causing osteopenia and, subsequently, osteoporosis with a high risk of suffering fractures. The health problems caused by a lack of vitamin D in the body are numerous, therefore, it is essential to determine the possible causes, symptoms and consequences.

Lack of vitamin D causes, symptoms and consequences

Causes of vitamin D deficiency

The synthesis of vitamin D takes place through the skin, since only a small part comes from the diet. In Spain, an increase in vitamin D deficiency has been detected in recent years, despite being a country with a large number of hours of sunshine per year. This deficit is fundamentally due to poor sun exposure for various reasons: the use of sunscreen, spending many hours in the office or at home, etc.

People most at risk of vitamin D deficiency include the following:

  • People suffering from diseases that cause malabsorption. People with celiac disease are an example, as well as those who need to take medications that affect the metabolism of the vitamin.
  • Pregnant women.
  • People suffering from kidney failure.
  • Overweight people.
  • Older people are also at risk because they have skin that does not produce vitamin D as efficiently. Also, your kidneys are less able to convert vitamin D into its active form.
  • People with dark skin tones have a lower ability to make vitamin D because the melanin in their skin competes with the vitamin D precursor from sunlight.

Symptoms of a lack of vitamin D

Are you wondering what are the symptoms of a lack of vitamin D? If you have a temporary vitamin D deficiency, you may not have any serious symptoms. Low vitamin D levels over long periods of time are indeed a health concern. In this case, the symptoms are as follows:

  • Loss of bone density that can lead to osteoporosis and fractures.
  • Severe vitamin D deficiency in children can cause rickets, that is, a rare disease that causes bones to become soft and even bend.
  • Severe deficiency in adults of vitamin D leads to osteocalcin, causing bone pain, as well as bone and muscle weakness.
  • Different studies are currently being carried out to determine the possible link of a lack of vitamin D with medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes and autoimmune diseases.
  • The lack of vitamin D and fatigue are also related, since this deficit causes weakness.

How can I increase vitamin D

Do you suffer from a lack of vitamin D? You can increase it in your body with these tips that we provide in a HOWTO:

  • Sunbathing is essential, as it contributes to the body's synthesis of vitamin D. In any case, sun exposure should be done in a controlled manner. Here you can read more about How to sunbathe to absorb vitamin D.
  • Food: vitamin D can also be obtained by eating some foods that contain it, such as fatty fish (salmon, herring, mackerel), meat, egg yolks and fortified foods.
  • Vitamin D supplements: taking multivitamins that contain vitamin D is another way to increase it in the body, as well as taking vitamin D supplements. In both cases, it is necessary that you previously consult your doctor or a pharmacist about which ones to take, the recommended doses, for how long you should take and how often.

Although it is very rare, vitamin D poisoning can be very serious. Therefore, it is important to remember that you should never take medications with vitamin D on your own. To do so without putting your health at risk, consult your doctor beforehand.

Consequences of lack of vitamin D

We indicate the diseases caused by a lack of vitamin D:

From a progressive loss of bone density with the risk of fractures and osteoporosis, to other diseases such as rickets in children. You should know that babies and children of African American origin are those with a higher risk of suffering from rickets. In adults, the consequences of sunshine vitamin deficiency are linked to osteocalcin (bone pain and muscle and bone weakness).

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