Vitamin D Deficiency: Symptoms and Treatment

Getting an adequate amount of Vitamin D is important to maintain the proper functioning of our body. Vitamin D assists in keeping our bones strong and helps in preventing some forms of cancer. Vitamin D deficiency can cause pain, muscle weakness, depression, and fatigue. To treat vitamin D deficiency, you need to take vitamin D tablets and vitamin D rich foods.

What is Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is important for various reasons that include maintaining healthy teeth and bones and protecting against various diseases like cancers, type 1 diabetes. Contrary to the name, vitamin D is a prohormone. Vitamins are nutrients that our body cannot create, but the body can produce vitamin D.

Vitamin D2 and Vitamin D3: Know the Difference

Scientifically, D3 is known as ergocalciferol, and D3 is referred to as cholecalciferol. The primary difference between the two is that vitamin D2 is derived from plants while D3 is derived from animals. Food that is enriched in vitamin D2 includes orange juice, cereals, dairy and plant milk, etc. People who are suffering from vitamin D3 deficiency should consume trout, cod liver oil, salmon, etc.

Importance of Vitamin D

Before we understand more about vitamin D deficiency, let’s understand the core function of vitamin D.

1.     Absorbing Calcium

Vitamin D, together with calcium, assists in building bones and keeping bones healthy and strong. Vitamin D is taken either from vitamin D tablets, or sun exposure is converted into active vitamin form. The active form of vitamin promotes maximum absorption of calcium.

2.     Maintaining the Bone Strength

Healthy bones protect you from various health conditions. You need vitamin D so that phosphorus and calcium can be utilized to build bones. 

3.     Vitamin D Work with Parathyroid Glands

Parathyroid glands act to balance the calcium in your blood by communicating with the gut, skeleton, and gut. When there is adequate calcium and active vitamin D in your diet, dietary calcium is absorbed and used properly throughout the body.

How Much Vitamin D Do You Need?

Lack of vitamin D can cause many health issues; therefore, it is important to maintain an adequate level of the same. Based on the individuals, vitamin D levels tend to vary. Here is the average daily recommended amount of vitamin D individuals should consume:

Stage of Life

Recommended Amount

Birth to 12 months

10 mcg or 400 IU

Children between 1 and 3 years

15 mcg or 600 IU

Teens between 14 and 18 years

15 mcg or 600 IU

Adults between 19 and 70 years

15 mcg or 600 IU

Adults from 71 years and above

20 mcg or 800 IU

Pregnant and breastfeeding women

15 mcg or 600 IU


Causes of Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D deficiency can be caused due to the following reasons:

  • When individuals do not consume enough vitamin D.
  • When individuals are not able to metabolize or absorb vitamin D.
  • When individuals do not spend sufficient time in UVB sunlight

Vitamin D Deficiency Symptoms

Following are Vitamin D Deficiency symptoms that you should look out for:

  • Excessive tiredness and fatigue
  • Increased risk of infections and illness
  • Back and bone pain
  • Depression
  • Bone loss
  • Hair loss

Health Risks of Vitamin D Deficiency

Lack of vitamin D in the body can cause many health issues, including:

1.     Cognitive Disorders

Vitamin D plays an important role in the development of the brain, healthy nervous system, and brain function regulation. Vitamin D deficiency has been commonly seen in patients suffering from anxiety disorders, depression, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, etc.

2.     Cardiovascular Disease

Vitamin D is linked with hypertension, coronary artery disease, peripheral vascular disease, stroke, heart failure, hyperlipidemia, myocardial infarction, etc.

3.     Rickets

In children, Vitamin D deficiency can result in rickets. It is a rare disease that causes bones to soften and bend.

How to Improve Vitamin D Deficiency?

Taking vitamin D tablets, consuming vitamin D rich foods, etc., are some of the ways you improve vitamin D deficiency. Below we go into details of how to improve vitamin D deficiency:

1.     Spend Adequate Time in The SunlightAbsorbing Sunlight

Vitamin D is also known as the sunshine vitamin because the sun is among its best sources. Vitamin D derived from the sun tends to circulate longer than vitamin D-rich foods. While there is no official data supporting it, 10 to 15 minutes of sun exposure daily will give enough vitamin D.

2.     Consume Fatty Fish and SeafoodSeafood and Fish

Fatty fish and season are rich in vitamin D sources. 100 grams of canned salmon can offer up to 386 IU of vitamin D, which accounts for 50% of the recommended daily intake. Some of the season and fish that can help improve vitamin D deficiency include oysters, tuna, mackerel, shrimp, anchovies, and sardines.

3.     MushroomsMushroom

Mushrooms are the only vegetarian vitamin D source. Mushrooms tend to make their own vitamin D when exposed to UV light. While humans produce vitamin D3, mushrooms produce vitamin D2. 100 gram serving of mushroom provides you up to 2,348 IU, which is 300% of recommended daily intake.

4.     Egg YolksEgg Yoke

If you are suffering from vitamin D deficiency, you should include egg yolks in your diet. Conventionally raised chickens will provide you 2 to 5% of vitamin D RDI. However, free-range chickens or pasture-raised chickens provide up to 20% of the RDI.

5.     Take Vitamin D SupplementsSwisse Vitamin D Tablets

In many cases, consuming vitamin D supplements may be the best way to improve vitamin D levels in the body. Following are the vitamin D supplement recommendations that you can consider

  • Vitamin D tablets: Swisse vitamin D tablets help in calcium absorption, boost immunity, strengthen bone and teeth health and improve muscle health.
  • Vitamin D3 Tablets: Swisse calcium vitamin D 90 tablets help in improving joint health, bone and teeth health, and absorption of vitamin D3.
  • Magnesium, Calcium + Vitamin D3: The Swisse magnesium, calcium + vitamin D3 tablets provide support to joints, muscle, and bone. These tablets work to improve overall immunity and energy production.
  • Vegan Calcium + Vitamin D3 Tablets: Swisse vegan calcium + vitamin D is an advanced and vegan source of vitamin D. These tablets are produced from organic plant-based algae and are entirely free of toxins.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What foods are highest in vitamin D?

Some of the highest vitamin D rich foods include oily fish, liver, egg yolks, liver, etc. Mushrooms are the only plant source of vitamin D.

  1. How can I raise my vitamin D level quickly?

To raise your vitamin D level quickly, you can take vitamin D tablets. You can combine that with enough sun exposure and vitamin D rich foods.

  1. How can I get vitamin D daily?

To get vitamin D daily, you should spend 10 to 15 minutes in the sunlight daily. Additionally, you can also consume vitamin D tablets to meet the RDI.

  1. When should I take vitamin D in the morning or at night?

Generally, people tend to take vitamin D tablets first thing in the morning as it seems more convenient. You can take vitamin D in the morning or at night after the meal.

  1. How long does it take to recover from vitamin D Deficiency?

The treatment of vitamin D depends on how low your vitamin D levels are, your age, and the reason behind it. Generally, it may take two to three months to bring your vitamin D level up based on your deficiency level.

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