Vitamin D Deficiency
By Ashley Gay, PharmD, Gayco Consultant Pharmacist
Vitamin D is an extremely important vitamin that has powerful effects on several systems throughout your body. Unlike other vitamins, vitamin D functions like a hormone, and every single cell in your body has a receptor for it. Your body makes it from cholesterol when your skin is exposed to sunlight. It’s also found in certain foods such as fatty fish and fortified dairy products, though it’s very difficult to get enough from diet alone. The recommended daily intake (RDI) is usually around 400–800 IU, but many experts say you should get even more than that. Vitamin D deficiency is very common.
Here are 7 common risk factors for vitamin D deficiency:
- Having dark skin.
- Being elderly
- Being overweight or obese
- Not eating much fish or dairy
- Living far from the equator where there is little sun year-round
- Always using sunscreen when going out
Most people don’t realize that they’re deficient, as symptoms are generally subtle. You may not recognize them easily, even if they’re having a significant negative effect on your quality of life.
Here are 8 signs and symptoms of vitamin D deficiency.
- Getting sick or infected often
- Excessive Fatigue and Tiredness
- Bone and Back pain
- Impaired Wound Healing
- Bone Loss
- Hair Loss
- Muscle Pain
Recommend annual Vitamin D levels. Anything under 20 ng/ml is considered deficient. However, even blood levels that aren’t extremely low may have a negative impact on your energy levels. Fortunately, a vitamin D deficiency is usually easy to fix. You can either increase your sun exposure, eat more vitamin-D-rich foods, such as fatty fish or fortified dairy products, or add supplements available over the counter and prescription strength.
For more information on this topic feel free to reach out to your Gayco Consultant Pharmacist.