A lack of nutrients is not uncommon in an unhealthy and stressful lifestyle. Vitamin D deficiency is also widespread in countries with a rich food supply.
What is vitamin D deficiency?
A vitamin D deficiency occurs when the body’s need for this vitamin is not sufficiently met. A deficiency can be determined via the blood values. A normal concentration of the precursor of vitamin D (vitamin D3) in the blood of an adult is 20 to 60 ng/ml (at least in summer these values should be reached without supplementation). If the values are below 10 ng/ml, this indicates that the person in question has a vitamin D deficiency. For autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (adpkd), please visit nonprofitdictionary.com.
In most people, the concentration of vitamin D in the blood is lower than the recommended value of 20 ng/ml or 50 nmol/l. The winter months are particularly risky, as vitamin D is formed in the body through exposure to the sun. Especially in the dark season, it can easily lead to a lack of vitamin D.
Symptoms, Ailments & Signs
The cause of a lack of vitamin D lies in insufficient intake or formation of the vitamin. This in turn can be caused by various factors. The first cause is a lack of daylight. Because the formation of vitamin D in the body is stimulated when the skin is exposed to sunlight.
Those who use a sun block in summer and do not allow UV radiation to reach their skin, who have dark skin and who cover their body heavily have a higher risk of suffering from a vitamin D deficiency. Even in winter, when there is naturally less sunlight available, many people suffer from vitamin D deficiency. Furthermore, there is a deficiency if too little vitamin D is ingested with food or if the body cannot utilize the vitamin D ingested, for example in the case of celiac disease, also known as sprue.
Diagnosis & course of disease
Typical symptoms and complaints of a lack of the so-called “sun vitamin” D include tiredness, depression and muscle twitching. The so-called winter depression can be caused by a lack of vitamin D. There can also be sleep disturbances and pain in the bones and feet. The bones can become brittle, back pain and disc damage can occur.
Because if there is a vitamin D deficiency, the calcium from food can no longer be sufficiently incorporated into the bones. The poorer storage of calcium in the bones leads to a softening of the bones, a so-called osteomalacia. Rickets occurs in children, which is a deformity on the head, spine, and legs.
The susceptibility to infections will also increase due to a vitamin deficiency. It can also lead to an increased occurrence of allergic reactions. The susceptibility to hay fever, asthma and hives (urticaria), for example, can be increased by a lack of vitamin D, and diseases of the cardiovascular system, especially myocardial insufficiency, can also occur.
The risk of suffering from autoimmune diseases such as ulcerative colitis and thyroiditis as well as from cancer (especially breast cancer should be mentioned here) is increasing. Pregnant women can cause massive damage to the unborn child because the bones and the brain of the fetus cannot develop optimally due to the deficiency. Gum disease ( periodontitis ) and diabetes are also favored by a lack of vitamin D.
If there are certain signs that a vitamin D deficiency is suspected, a blood test can confirm the diagnosis. If a deficiency continues, permanent damage (e.g. tumor diseases, schizophrenia, depression ) can occur.
A vitamin D deficiency puts a strain on the body after a short time. The affected person then suffers from, among other things, difficulty concentrating, problems with the cardiovascular system and/or muscle pain. As the disease progresses, hair loss, sleep disorders and nervousness occur. Serious complications arise if the vitamin D deficiency is not corrected.
This causes permanent damage and increases the risk of mental illnesses such as mood swings and depression. In severe cases, as a result of a vitamin D deficiency, epileptic seizures occur, which are also associated with an acute risk of injury and possible shock reactions for those affected. Possible secondary diseases of the deficiency symptoms are, for example, asthma, multiple sclerosis and cancer.
Vitamin D deficiency also seems to favor the development of forgetfulness, memory disorders and Alzheimer’s. Growth disorders can occur in children. In small children, a deficiency leads to changes in the skeletal system (rickets), which are associated with malpositions and other complications.
If vitamin preparations are overdosed, poisoning can occur during treatment. Some supplements also contain additives that can cause allergies and symptoms of intolerance. Intravenous vitamin D administration carries the risk of injury, infection and bleeding.
When should you go to the doctor?
People who suffer from a vitamin deficiency can often alleviate the symptoms themselves by changing their lifestyle. Especially in the early stages of the deficiency symptoms, self-help measures can provide the necessary compensation to eliminate the imbalance. Eating food, getting enough exercise outdoors, and living a healthy lifestyle can all help with recovery.
In the case of a vitamin D deficiency, the adequate supply of daylight is particularly important. For this reason, stays in the fresh air should take place every day. At the first sign of insomnia, back pain, depression or a general feeling of being unwell, it is important to check whether the daily routine is optimized for the needs of the organism.
The intake of the food should be checked for its ingredients and the type of preparation should be checked. It is important to eat fresh food. If the symptoms persist for a longer period of time or if the health irregularities are increasing in character, a check-up visit with a doctor should be initiated. If you experience pain, emotional problems, or repeated muscle twitching, an examination is advisable.
Mood swings, an increased number of diseases, cardiac arrhythmia and a feeling of illness indicate a health disorder. A visit to the doctor is recommended to clarify the symptoms. A blood test can determine the extent of the vitamin deficiency.
Treatment & Therapy
Treating vitamin D deficiency is fairly simple. First, you can try exposing the body to more intense sunlight. Artificial UV light (in a solarium) can also be used for this purpose. If this is not reasonably possible (e.g. due to an allergy to sunlight or a particular sensitivity to light), foods that have a particularly high vitamin D content can be used more intensively.
This includes foods such as eggs, offal (especially beef and poultry liver), avocado, oily fish, mushrooms (especially button mushrooms), nuts of all kinds and cheese. The D vitamin deficiency can also be compensated for with suitable preparations from the drugstore or pharmacy, for example in the form of a multivitamin preparation or a mono preparation with vitamin D. If a deficiency already exists, a higher dose preparation should be used, possibly in consultation with the doctor. be resorted to.
To prevent a vitamin D deficiency, regular exposure to fresh air in daylight should be ensured. In summer, sunbathing for half an hour with only a weak sun protection filter can be helpful to support the formation of vitamin D through the skin. In winter, you should primarily use foods that have a particularly high vitamin D content.
In old age and during pregnancy in particular, care should be taken to ensure an adequate supply of vitamin D. Women going through the menopause can also benefit from an adequate supply. The recommended daily dose for an adult is around 15 micrograms of vitamin D per day, which corresponds to 600 IU.
Vitamin D deficiency is very common in our relatively sun-poor latitudes, but in many cases it can be compensated for by spending enough time outdoors. Those affected should spend time in the fresh air several times a week so that the body can use sunlight to produce enough vitamin D. At least 20 percent of the body surface should be exposed to the sun.
Sun creams hinder the absorption of UV light, which sets vitamin D production in motion. However, one should not expose oneself to the sun’s rays without protection for too long, of course, 15 to 20 minutes are usually sufficient. Daylight lamps can also be used to boost the body’s production of vitamin D.
Especially in the months with little sunshine, an appropriate diet is recommended in order to provide the body with sufficient vitamin D. Up to 20 percent of daily needs can be met through food. High-fat foods such as herring, mackerel, salmon, tuna, redfish, liver, egg yolk, butter, cream, as well as mushrooms, porcini mushrooms and chanterelles contribute to the vitamin D supply.
If, despite all efforts, the vitamin D deficiency persists, the stores must be replenished in the long term in consultation with a doctor. Over-the-counter food supplements or medically prescribed and particularly high-dose products from pharmacies can help.
You can do that yourself
A vitamin D deficiency can often be compensated for by sufficient exercise in the fresh air. Affected people should spend time in the sun three to five times a week so that the body can absorb enough vitamin D. At least 15 to 20 percent of the body surface should be exposed to the sun. Alternatively, a daylight lamp can be used to provide the body with sufficient vitamin D. In the summer months, exercise in the sun should be limited to 15 to 20 minutes to avoid sunburn.
Sun oil and sun cream inhibit the absorption of vitamin D. A change in diet is recommended in months with little sun. The diet should be high in eggs, fish oil, and cod liver oil. There are also Emmental cheese, quark, goat’s milk and other dairy products, as well as various fish and seafood such as oysters, herring or salmon.
If the signs of vitamin D deficiency persist, the general practitioner or an internist must be consulted in any case. The individual symptoms such as dizziness or tiredness can be alleviated in the short term by sleeping and resting. In the long-term, the body’s own vitamin D stores must be replenished in the event of a vitamin D deficiency.