Vitamin D plays a vital role in our body’s ability to absorb calcium and phosphate into our musculoskeletal system which in turn promotes normal bone formation and mineralization. And as with any other vitamin or mineral it plays a role in how we feel physically and mentally. If you do not have enough vitamin d sources in your diet or lifestyle (the sun is of course a major source) you might start suffering from vitamin d deficiency symptoms!
Vitamin d deficiency symptoms in adults are related to lack of sufficient intake through diet or supplements and lack of exposure to sunlight which when absorbed through the skin is synthesized to promote production of Vitamin D. These two factors simultaneously create a clinical deficiency. As a result the body is unable to absorb the necessary amounts of Calcium and Phosphates causing a condition called hypocalcaemia and other calcium deficiency symptoms.
Therefore Vitamin D deficiency symptoms would be primarily noticed within the musculoskeletal system which would include muscle pain, muscle weakness and bone pain, and fragility at any age. Severe deficiencies could result in osteomalacia, softening of the bones, in children referred to as Rickets, and osteoporosis.
Other symptoms of vitamin d deficiency that would be more difficult to link specifically to vitamin d deficiency could be depression, chronic fatigue, autoimmune diseases such as MS and Rheumatoid Arthritis, certain cancers, and heart disease. In fact the role vitamin D plays in these disorders may not be a major role, but a contributing factor.
Vitamin d deficiency symptoms in women are especially important to prevent because deficiency can affect the fetus as well. A severe case of maternal osteomalacia could result in a newborn with rickets and possibly Metaphyseal lesions (or fractures). An infant with a deficiency serious enough to cause rickets would have softening of the entire skull, a condition called craniotabes as well as bossing of the skull (i.e. protruding forehead) and costochondral thickening, a condition marked by beadlike prominences along the lateral chest wall.
In older infants there would be developmental delays in sitting, cr
awling and walking, delayed growth including fontanelle closure, and deformity of the long bones. Distal bon
es of the radius, ulna, tibia, and fibula are enlarged.
Walking is painful and in severe cases deformities in the legs develop, such as knock-knees and bow legs.
Other possible symptoms of deficiency in vitamin D might include a condition called Tetany, an involuntary contraction of muscles caused by hypocalcaemia. Signs of Tetany include tingling or numbness of the lips, tongue and fingers; wrist, ankle and facial spasms, and in severe cases seizures.
In summary vitamin D deficiency symptoms includes:
- Depression; when you feel sad for no reason and have constant mood swings,
- Chronic fatigue; when you feel tired all the time, even without any physical excursion,
- Chronic pain; from the weak bones caused by the lack of calcium,
- Bone fracture; also caused by the weak bones.
A combination of good sources of vitamin D such as a properly fortified diet and sufficient exposure to sunlight are necessary measures in avoiding symptoms of vitamin D. In some cases where disease may be the cause of inability to absorb vitamin D naturally, a vitamin D supplement may be required. You might also want to consider a vitamin D supplement during the winter since you are most likely going to be less often outside and in this case your only source of vitamin D would be food which depending on your body might not be enough to take advantage of the vitamin D benefits and prevent vitamin D deficiency symptoms!