Part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle is making sure you’re getting sufficient amounts of the vitamins and minerals your body needs. To do so, you eat a well-balanced diet and maybe even take a multivitamin every day. However, there’s a chance you might be lacking vitamin D, as diet alone is often not an adequate source for this hormone. We’re breaking down the basics of vitamin D so you know when to talk to your doctor about a potential deficiency.
Your body creates vitamin D naturally when you expose your bare skin to the sun’s ultraviolet B rays. The rays energize the cholesterol in your skin, which causes the cells to create vitamin D. If you decide to get your vitamin D through sun exposure, you need to do so with great caution because extended sun exposure can result in sunburns and skin cancer; spend no more than 10 minutes outside without sunblock. But we recommend opting for safer ways to meet your daily dose. These include eating plenty of fish, mushrooms, and fortified foods and drinks. You can also speak with your doctor about taking a vitamin D supplement.
Vitamin D deficiency is widespread, with about one billion people worldwide falling below proper levels of this essential vitamin. Several risk factors increase your chances of a deficiency. Here are a few to keep in mind:
A vitamin D deficiency presents itself in various, somewhat vague, symptoms. These symptoms are common signs of several different health conditions, so a deficiency typically isn’t the first suspected ailment. If you notice several of the following symptoms, speak with your doctor. They can run a blood test to determine if you do have insufficient amounts of vitamin D. Keep in mind, this is a list of only a few of the symptoms, so be sure to explain any abnormal symptoms you experience to your doctor.
If you have a combination of any of the symptoms above or meet one of the at-risk qualifications, don’t hesitate to speak with your primary care physician at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Group. Your doctor will determine if a vitamin D deficiency is likely, and they can test your blood to check your hormone levels. Whether these symptoms are a sign of vitamin D deficiency or something else entirely, your doctor can help find the right treatment to help you achieve better health.
Healthline | 8 Signs and Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency
Healthline | 6 Side Effects of Too Much Vitamin D
NCBI | Vitamin D Deficiency in Adults: When to Test and How to Treat
CDC | Vitamin D
Healthline | Rickets
Everyday Health | 5 Illnesses Linked to Vitamin D Deficiency
NCBI | Vitamin D Status Is Associated With Arterial Stiffness and Vascular Dysfunction in Healthy Humans
Vitamin D Council | How do I get the vitamin D my body needs?
Healthline | How to Safely Get Vitamin D From Sunlight
NCBI | Muscle Pain: Mechanisms and Clinical Significance
NCBI | Vitamin D in Pain Management
Britannica | T cell
Science Direct | Nociceptor
US News and World Report | How Much Time in the Sun Do You Need for Vitamin D?
Prevention | These 10 Groups Of People Are More Prone To Vitamin D Deficiency
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