Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin produced in the skin when exposed to ultraviolet B rays from the sun. Vitamin D is crucial in multiple bodily processes, including bone formation, immune function, and cell growth.
A deficiency of vitamin D can lead to rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults. Osteomalacia is softening of the bones and can lead to pain on slight physical exertion, whereas rickets leads to weakness and deformity of bones such as bowed legs, small wrists, or large rib cages in children.
Malnourished inpatients have a high risk of vitamin deficiency, which is associated with long-term mortality and is exacerbated when patients do not receive vitamin D therapy. The deficiency does not usually require treatment other than improving exposure to sunlight or supplements of vitamin D. When you visit an advanced diagnostic center, they test you and let you know if you have an adequate level of vitamin D.
Physicians may advise people with vitamin D deficiency to take a vitamin D supplement daily or weekly during winter. The Health benefits of vitamin D are absolute. Its functions include:
- Aiding in calcium absorption and preserving solid bones
- Controlling genes and cell development
- Prevention of rickets and osteoporosis through immune system control.
Causes and Risk Factors of Vitamin D Deficiency
Your body must utilize vitamin D appropriately to function correctly. So, Vitamin D deficiency can happen either if you are not getting enough vitamin D through your diet or sunlight or if your body is unable to absorb or utilize the available vitamin.
There could be some diverse causes of vitamin D deficiency, including:
- Specific health conditions
- Weight-loss surgery
- Certain medications
Other biological and environmental factors, such as aging and having more melanin (pigment) in your skin, might also raise your risk of developing vitamin D deficiency.
Let Us Discuss These Causes in Detail
- Health Conditions That Can Cause Vitamin D Deficiency
- Kidney and Liver Diseases
People are at a higher risk of vitamin D deficiency as they age because their kidneys are less able to convert vitamin D to its active form because the kidney and liver cannot produce certain enzymes (hepatic enzyme 25-hydroxylase from the liver and 1-alpha hydroxylase from the kidneys). The amount of active vitamin D in your body is insufficient if one of these enzymes is lacking.
- Inadequate Vitamin D Absorption
The power of your intestine to absorb vitamin D from your food can be impacted by several medical conditions, such as Crohn’s disease, cystic fibrosis, and celiac disease.
Vitamin D remains sequestered in fat cells and cannot be released due to lower vitamin D levels. Vitamin D supplementation in higher doses is frequently necessary for obese people to achieve and maintain normal levels.
- Vitamin D Deficiency is Also Associated With Weight Loss Surgeries.
The two most popular surgical procedures for weight loss are vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG) and roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB). Patients who undergo any of these surgeries are more likely to experience vitamin D deficiency, which may be linked to skeletal and non-skeletal diseases. This happens because this surgery makes it challenging for the body to absorb some vitamins & minerals.
It’s crucial to schedule routine checkups with your doctor if you’ve undergone weight-loss surgery so they can keep an eye on your vitamin D level.
- Drugs That May Result in a Vitamin D Deficiency
Certain drugs can cause vitamin D deficiency. Examples of those medications are laxatives, steroids, drugs that reduce cholesterol, etc. Some more causes or we could say risk factors are:
- Lifestyle Factors: Due to their jobs, health issues, a lack of outdoor space in their community, or other reasons, some people spend little time outside, and they have fewer opportunities to expose their skin to the sun. People who dress in full body coverings, whether for sun protection or cultural or religious reasons, may also be more susceptible to deficiencies.
- Pollution: Airborne particles can block UVB rays and keep them from penetrating the skin. Living in a region with high pollution levels may also increase a person’s likelihood of avoiding outdoor activities, which stops their exposure to sunlight.
Warning Signs of Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D deficiency is tough to observe as symptoms may not be seen for months or even years. But for your awareness, you must understand the early signs and symptoms.
- Low vitamin D levels may be a contributing factor if you fall ill regularly, especially with colds or the flu. Several extensive observational studies have demonstrated a link between a deficiency of vitamin D and respiratory tract infections such as colds, bronchitis, and pneumonia.
- If you are feeding tired, one of the leading causes could be insufficient vitamin D in the body.
- Vitamin D improves the bone’s capacity to absorb calcium; when your body lacks vitamin D, a person often experiences bone and back pain.
The other symptoms you may experience when your body has insufficient vitamin D are hair loss, muscle pain, weight gain, anxiety, etc. In any case, you can visit a diagnostic center and get personalized advice. Even if you are experiencing no symptoms, you can take a lab test to know if you have sufficient vitamin D in your body.
Even if you are experiencing no symptoms, you can take a lab test to know if you have sufficient vitamin D in your body.
You have some options to prevent vitamin D deficiency!
- You must maintain healthy body weight by exercising regularly and cycling.
- If you have any medical condition ( mentioned in the causes), you should never let them untreated.
- If you have any family history of disease caused by vitamin D, you should get yourself tested by the best pathology lab.
Vitamin D is one of the essential vitamins to keep the body healthy, and you must understand what vitamin D deficiency could lead to. If you want to determine your vitamin D level, you can visit Lupin Diagnostics to get the test done.