(Natural News) Often referred to as the ”sunshine vitamin,” vitamin D is an extremely important fat-soluble vitamin that has powerful effects on the whole body. It is crucial to every cell and tissue, and is essential for proper heart and brain health, immune function, bone density, insulin production, and mood.
Vitamin D plays a crucial role in the prevention of brittle bones, hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, as well as various autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS), rheumatoid arthritis, and autoimmune thyroid disease. Unlike most vitamins, vitamin D acts as a steroid hormone with vitamin D receptors present in most cells and tissues.
An estimated one billion people worldwide are vitamin D deficient. Even though a vitamin D deficiency can have significant effects on overall health, symptoms are usually subtle and easily overlooked. Below you’ll find seven signs of a vitamin D deficiency you should not ignore.
1. Muscle pain and weakness
Vitamin D affects muscle contractions and movement. Low levels of this vitamin can cause muscle pain and weakness, which may intensify when the vitamin D deficiency gets worse.
2. Immune system malfunction
Immune cells rely on vitamin D for their optimal functioning. A Japanese study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that schoolchildren who consumed vitamin D supplements were more resistant to influenza. Furthermore, Natural Blaze reported on another study that found low levels of vitamin D in patients suffering from autoimmune diseases.
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3. Elevated blood pressure
Research has shown that people with low vitamin D levels are more likely to have high blood pressure or hypertension. The University Health News reported on a study published in the medical journal Hypertension, which showed that when vitamin D levels go up, systolic blood pressure goes down. The higher the vitamin D dose, the greater the blood pressure reduction.
4. Depression and mood swings
Several studies are providing evidence that vitamin D supplementation can help fight the blues or sadness during season changes (also known as SAD or seasonal affective disorder). After vitamin D supplementation SAD sufferers usually experience noticeable positive changes in their mood while reducing food cravings, lethargy, hypersomnia, and sleep disturbances.
5. Stomach and gut problems
People who struggle with chronic digestive complaints, excess body fat or gastrointestinal conditions, like celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, or inflammatory bowel disease, often lack vitamin D.
6. Chronic sweating
If you are sweating a lot, particularly on the forehead, yet your activity level remains low, you may want to consider a vitamin D test. While the link between vitamin D and excessive sweating remains a mystery, head sweats are a classic sign that shouldn’t be ignored.
7. Cardiovascular disorders
Vitamin D has a protective effect on the heart. According to some experts, low vitamin D levels increase calcium levels in the arteries, which may result in clogged arteries, heart failure, and stroke.
While foods such as sun-exposed mushrooms, oil-rich fish, and vitamin D-fortified foods contain some vitamin D, it is very hard to get adequate amounts through the diet alone. The easiest way to up your vitamin D level is through sun exposure since your body converts cholesterol to vitamin D when the skin is exposed to sunlight. Sometimes, high-quality supplements may be required.
If you suspect a vitamin D deficiency, many medical insurances and Medicaid often cover a vitamin D blood test. If you are low in vitamin D, the issue can easily be remedied through vitamin D supplementation. Talk to your doctor or health care provider for more info regarding the dose.