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Written by Kinsley Blakeson, MS, RDN, LD on February 10, 2021 — Medically reviewed by Kathy W. Warwick, R.D., CDE

NUTRITION
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Are you D-ficient?

Do you need the D?

For several reasons, vitamin D is essential, including keeping bones and teeth healthy. It can also protect against a variety of illnesses, such as diabetes type 1. People need vitamin D to stimulate and absorb calcium from the bowels and reclaim calcium from the kidneys.

Vitamin D deficiency can severely impact your quality of life. 

The low intake of vitamin D is a major concern for public health worldwide. Indeed, it is estimated that vitamin D deficiency affects 13% of the world's population. Bones can become thin, brittle or misfigured without enough vitamin D.


 

In long lasting periods of deficiency of vitamin D, it can result in complications such as cardiovascular conditions, autoimmune problems, neurological diseases, infections, complications of pregnancy, and some cancers, particularly breast, prostate and colon cancer.

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What are Factors that affect Vitamin D absorption?

 

Many factors can affect your ability to get sufficient amounts of vitamin D through the sun alone. These factors include:

  • Being in an area with high pollution

  • Using sunscreen

  • Spending more time indoors

  • Living in big cities where buildings block sunlight

  • Having darker skin. (The higher the levels of melanin, the less vitamin D the skin can absorb.)

 

What are the symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency

 

Lack of vitamin D is not quite as obvious in adults. Signs and symptoms might include:

  • Fatigue.

  • Bone pain.

  • Muscle weakness, muscle aches, or muscle cramps.

  • Mood changes, like depression.

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What can I do to get more Vitamin D?

Therapy and prevention have the same goals: reach a sufficient level of vitamin D in the body and keep it in place. You may want to eat more foods with Vitamin D and expose yourself to a little sunshine. However, it is likely you will need supplements with Vitamin D.

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