What is Vitamin D and what are the symptoms of deficiency in the body?

Vitamin D is a family of steroid hormones, and must go through several changes in both the liver and kidneys before it is functionally ready. 

What is Vitamin D and what are the symptoms of deficiency in the body?

What is vitamin D deficiency

Vitamin D deficiency is a lower level of vitamin D in the blood than normal, which negatively affects a person's overall health, especially bone and muscle health.

The compound 25-hydroxy- vitamin D (25-Hydroxyvitamin D), one of the main forms of vitamin D present in the blood, is usually relied on as an indicator of the level of vitamin deficiency in the body.

Vitamin D deficiency is a global health problem, with nearly 1 billion people worldwide suffering from vitamin D deficiency. In addition, approximately 50% of the world's population suffers from inadequate vitamin D in the body.

Causes of Vitamin D deficiency

The causes of vitamin D deficiency and risk factors include:

  • Malnutrition

Infants and children are the most vulnerable to vitamin D deficiency resulting from inadequate access to food; Because breast milk contains few amounts of vitamin D, most synthetic infant milk formulations also do not contain sufficient amounts of vitamin D.

For adults, lack of interest in obtaining vitamin D sources of foods such as fish and egg yolks may lead to vitamin D deficiency, especially in older adults and people on the plant-based diet.

  • Insufficient exposure to sunlight

Vitamin D is one of the vitamins that can be made naturally by the body, approximately 50 - 90% of the vitamin D in the body is made in the skin, but the process of making it needs exposure to the sun.

Thus the lack of adequate and timely exposure to the sun often causes a decrease in the level of vitamin D manufactured in the body. Among the causes that may lead to low sun exposure are:

  1. Do not go out of the house in abundance, or work in an environment not connected by sunlight.
  2. Use sunscreen when going out.
  3. Wear long clothing, body coverings or head.
  4. Winter, especially in the country where it is prolonged.

People with darker skin are more susceptible to vitamin D deficiencies resulting from inadequate sun exposure, as the presence of melanin dye in the skin reduces the skin's ability to manufacture vitamin D through sunlight.

What are the symptoms of vitamin D deficiency?

There can be no health symptoms in people with a mild or moderate vitamin D deficiency. But in cases of severe vitamin D deficiency there is a range of symptoms and health problems that will often suffer from the individual.

Vitamin D deficiency symptoms include:

  • Overwork and general weakness.
  • Mood swings, and in severe cases an individual may suffer from depression.
  • anxiety.
  • Increase the feeling of sleepiness or inactivity.
  • Hair loss.
  • Overweight or difficulty getting rid of excess weight.
  • Muscle pain, muscle trembling can be observed.
  • bone and joint pain, especially back pain.
  • Weakened bones, increased risk of repeated bone fractures, osteoporosis or osteoporosis.
  • Weakened immune system, increased risk of respiratory infection, such as cold, flu, bronchitis.
  • Slow healing of wounds caused by injury or undergoing surgical procedures.
  • Poor dental structure, especially in children.
  • Sexual dysfunction.

It is worth mentioning that all these symptoms of vitamin D deficiency are not only specific to vitamin D deficiency, as there are many health problems and diseases that may cause similar symptoms; Therefore, appropriate diagnosis must be obtained to ensure that a person has a vitamin D deficiency.

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