Vitamin D Deficiency Symptoms: Will You Know Before It’s Too Late?

Vitamin D Deficiency Symptoms - Vitamin D is best known as the sunshine vitamin. Ultraviolet light falling on the skin stimulates the production of this vitamin and hormone. Many people get their entire supply of vitamin D from sunlight. But what happens if you don't get enough sun?

We developed the video below to show everyone what's involved in vtiamin D deficency and wanted to include it here for our readers. It's important this information is shared as this is a major health concern for many. Please share with anyone you think may be at risk of lack of vitamin D.

The following are conditions that predispose an individual to vitamin D deficiency symptoms.

  • Aging: After the age of 60, people are more likely to have had an experience with skin cancer and subsequently to use sunscreen. With advancing age, people are more likely to stay indoors. Persons in rest homes or similar institutions are at extremely high risk of vitamin D deficiency symptoms without supplementation.
  • Covering all exposed skin or using sunscreen whenever outside: Osteomalacia came to public attention when it became epidemic among Afghan women during the Talibans rule. This condition of brittle bones is a risk for women who cover all of their skin whenever they are outside for religious or cultural reasons. Applying sunscreen with an SPF factor of 8 reduces production of vitamin D by 95%. Applying sunscreen with higher SPF reduces vitamin D production even more.
  • Dark skin: Dark skin produces less vitamin D than light skin. The risk of vitamin D deficiency is especially high in dark-skinned people who live far from the equator. In the U.S., 42% of African American women between 15 and 49 years of age were vitamin D deficient compared to 4% of white women. The problem is more severe in persons of African origin who live in Canada.
  • Exclusively breast fed infants: African-American who are exclusively breast fed and do not receive vitamin D supplementation are at high risk of vitamin D deficiency symptoms, particularly if receive little sun exposure. The vitamin D content of mother's milk simply isn't enough for the infant. Vitamin D deficiency symptoms can also occur in older infants and toddlers exclusively fed milk substitutes or other foods not containing the vitamin D. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all infants that are not consuming at least 500 ml (16 ounces) of vitamin D fortified formula or milk be given a vitamin D supplement of 200 IU/day.
  • Fat malabsorption syndromes: Vitamin D deficiency symptoms are also common in cystic fibrosis and many forms of liver disease impairing the absorption of vitamin D from food.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease: People with inflammatory bowel disease such as inflammatory bowel disease or Crohn's disease are at increased risk of vitamin D deficiency symptoms, especially those who have had small bowel resections.
  • Obesity: Vitamin D deficiency symptoms increase in people who are obese. Since vitamin D is fat-soluble, it can accumulate in body fat, making it less available to other parts of the body.

The simple answer is, if you don't get sun, or if you suffer any of these conditions, you have to take extra care to get your vitamin D from food or supplements and if you don't get your vitamin D, here's what can happen:

Hypovitaminosis D osteopathy.

What's that?

Vitamin D is essential for healthy bones. The main job of vitamin D is to regulate the body's use of calcium. It helps make the hormones that make sure calcium goes into bone and not into other tissues.

Hypovitaminosis D osteopathy, a collection of vitamin D deficiency symptoms, is a condition occurring when there isn't enough vitamin D to make the hormones that maintain healthy calcium balance.

This condition takes place over a very long time. For a period of up to 5 years, there may be a shortage of calcium going into the bones, but there are no symptoms. For another 5 to 30 years, changes in the bone could be noted with a bone scan but there would still be no unusual breaks or fractures. Only in the latest stages of the condition do vitamin D deficiency symptoms manifest themselves as broken bones or reduced height.

There are other conditions of vitamin D deficiency symptoms that also take a long time to develop:

  • Colon cancer in men.
  • Breast cancer in women before menopause.
  • Prostate cancer, especially in African-American men.

Getting enough foods with vitamin D or supplemental vitamin D reduces the risk of developing insulin-dependent diabetes, multiple sclerosis, or rheumatoid arthritis, especially in dark-skinned persons, observant Muslim women, and persons living in the northern United States, Canada, northern Europe, Siberia, Alaska, or New Zealand.

But you won't know you're deficient until after vitamin D deficiency symptoms appear - many years after you should have started making sure you were getting enough vitamin D.

Here's a test kit you can use to determine if you're vitamin D deficient:

Can you get enough vitamin D from sunlight alone to avoid vitamin D deficiency symptoms?

If you live north of 40 degrees north latitude (about the latitude of New York City) or south of 40 degrees south latitude (about the latitude of Wellington, New Zealand), for at least half of the year, you can't.

In Boston, Massachusetts, for instance, there is insufficient ultraviolet radiation in the sunlight for skin to make adequate amounts of vitamin D from early November to early March. On the South Island of New Zealand, vitamin D deficiency is a real risk from early May to early September. In Calgary, Alberta, residents don't get enough vitamin D even if they get daily sun exposure from October until nearly April. And in northern Europe, Alaska, and Russia, the problem is even worse.

You can, of course, get some vitamin D from foods with vitamin D. The problem is, the list of foods with vitamin D isn't very long, you have to eat a lot of them to avoid vitamin D deficiency symptoms, and they tend to lack taste appeal.

Food Vitamin D (IU)
Cod liver oil 2218
Herring (raw) 2061
Shiitake mushrooms (dried) 1122
Catfish (raw) 1122
Button mushrooms (raw) 691
Pink salmon, canned 530
Sardines (canned) 521
Herring (pickled) 519
Mackerel, canned 214
Caviar 184
Quaker Nutrition for Women Instant Oatmeal 140
Cow's milk, fortified with vitamin D 100
Orange juice, fortified with vitamin D 100
Vanilla milkshake (fast food) 52
Egg yolk 25
Mashed potatoes 11
Fruits and fruit juices 0
Cereal, fortified 40-50

Note that the greatest amounts of vitamin D are found in fish liver oil and raw fish. (Penguins and polar bears rarely suffer vitamin D deficiency.) If you don't really care for cod liver oil , and caviar and catfish sushi aren't really practical diet choices for you, and if you don't really have room in your calorie counts for 10 glasses of milk or OJ with breakfast, it may be a good idea to pass on foods with vitamin D and consider supplementation.

Most over the counter nutritional supplements contain cholicalciferol, better known as vitamin D3. Foods with vitamin D may also contain another form of the vitamin called ergocalciferol or vitamin D2, which originates in plants.

Multivitamin supplements for children usually contain 200 IU (5 micrograms) of vitamin D3, and multivitamins for adults usually contain 400 IU (10 micrograms) per daily dose. Stand-alone vitamin D supplements usually offer 400 to 1,000 IU per day, and vitamin D is often included in calcium supplements.

It is possible to get too much vitamin D. In an extreme case in which a hamburger maker added vitamin D powder instead of salt to hamburger meat, hundreds of people developed a skin rash. Getting a "sunburn" without getting sun is a sure sign of taking too much vitamin D - but you'd have to take the whole bottle all at once and then go out and buy another one and take it for this to happen.

A single dose of even 100,000 IU is non-toxic, but unnecessary. If you don't have a rare vitamin D deficiency disease that should be treated under a physician's supervision, you never need more than 2,000 IU per day.

If you suffer hyperparathyroidism, lymphoma, sarcoidosis, or TB, taking supplemental vitamin D can cause the release of too much calcium into your bloodstream. Consult a physician before taking any vitamin D supplement if you have any of those conditions.

It's also important to consult a physician before taking supplemental vitamin D if you take digitalis (Digoxin). People who have a health condition requiring caution about vitamin D should also exercise caution before eating foods with vitamin D.

Some people need to be extra sure to get their D. Vitamin D is depleted by phenytoin (Dilantin), fosphenytoin (Cerebyx), phenobarbitol (Luminal), carbamazepine (Tegretol), and rifampin (Rimactane). Any prescription or non-prescription "fat blocker" will also stop the absorption of vitamin D from food.

If you take any of these medications, chances are you need supplemental vitamin D. Don't take any of these prescription medications and a vitamin D supplement at the same time. Elderly persons who don't get sunlight need supplemental vitamin D (as mentioned above) for bone health.

For everybody else, 400 IU of D a day assists in maintaining your physical wellbeing. For best results, choose a balanced supplement including D and all the other supplements you need to avoid vitamin D deficiency symptoms and thrive in good health.

We recommend, Total Balance as the supplement that will give you Vitamin D and all the other supplements you need for a healthy lifestyle. All of the 85 ingredients in Total Balance work in complete synergy without interfering with each other. Additionally, Total Balance can be taken with or without food.

We take Total Balance ourselves and are very happy with the results. It is covered in detail in the "what we take tab" on the upper left hand portion of this page.

More great vitamin information besides vitamin D deficiency symptoms back at the home page.

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