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Signs of Vitamin D Deficiency & How to Bring it to Normal

... Arunima Bose

In our normal day-to-day life, we fail to realise that we could be getting Vitamin deficient. So it really comes as a surprise when your Doctor tells you that you could be Vitamin deficient.

The easiest way to be absolutely sure is to take a blood test. Vitamin levels below  20 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) in the blood is medically considered deficient. Many Doctors now are recommending that 30 ng/mL or even 40 ng/mL may be required for optimal health.

Vitamin deficiency doesn’t usually produce noticeable symptoms, unless you hit severe deficiency levels However, if are aware of its symptoms and alert to the possibility that vitamin D deficiency could be causing those symptoms  then it’s possible to make adjustments in our lifestyle and food habits to recover the lost grounds. Some of the common symptoms of Vitamin D deficiencies are:

  • muscle/joint pain and weakness
  • bone pain
  • tiredness or fatigue
  • depression

What is Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that the body needs for calcium absorption, cell growth, immune system function, and inflammation reduction. The major function of Vitamin D is to maintain normal levels of calcium and phosphorus in the blood. Without enough vitamin D, bones can’t properly develop, leading to diseases like osteoporosis and rickets.

Sources of Vitamin D

Vitamin D comes from three sources: sunlight, food, and supplements. The best strategy is to get find a good mix of all three sources—it’s impossible to efficiently get enough from just one source. So how much is enough? The National Institute of Health recommends that adults between 19 and 50 years of age get 15 mcg (or 600 IUs) of vitamin D per day. That's equal to about one vitamin D-fortified six-ounce yogurt (80 IUs), two large eggs (82 IUs), or one 3-ounce serving of cooked salmon (447 IUs) combined!

The easiest way to get started is to soak up the sun while downing some dairy for a dose of vitamin D. A regular sunbath (preferably during morning hours with exposed skin) for 15-30 minutes can significantly improve things.

AS regards food sources, the problem is that vitamin D isn't naturally present in very many foods, which is why vitamin D-fortified products like cereal, orange juice, and milk are hitting the shelves left and right.As regards the natural sources then one can try regular doses of vitamin D-rich foods: egg yolks, fish (specifically salmon, mackerel, bluefish, and canned tuna), and sun-ripened mushrooms.

Supplements come next and are recommended in cases where one has already hit severe deficiency stage. One study suggests that oral supplements and dietary sources are the safest ways to increase vitamin D levels. However Vitamin D supplements are best advised under strict supervision of a Doctor as getting too much vitamin D (typically from supplements) can cause a decrease in appetite, nausea, and even vomiting.