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Vitamin D Deficiency: Signs, Causes & How to Increase Intake

Concerned you may have vitamin D deficiency? Vitamin D is one of the vitamins your body needs to work as it should. There are signs to look out for if you think you aren’t getting enough vitamin D. Here’s what you need to know about vitamin D deficiency, and how to increase your vitamin D intake.

Table of Contents:

What Is Vitamin D Deficiency?

Deficiency means a lack or shortage of something. So if you have vitamin D deficiency, it means you aren’t getting enough vitamin D. Knowing if you could have vitamin D deficiency can help you spot any possible health problems, and help to prevent them.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) estimates that vitamin D deficiency in the UK affects one in five adults and one in six children – that’s 10 million of us! Having vitamin D deficiency could lead to bone problems such as rickets in children or even osteomalacia in adults. This is why it is important to spot the signs of vitamin D deficiency early and consider taking vitamin D supplements to support and encourage bone and immune health.

Signs & Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency

Spotting vitamin D deficiency is important to ensure your body is getting what it needs, and at the right levels, to function properly. Some signs you’re not getting enough vitamin D are more easy to spot than others. We’ve created a list of what to look out for when considering your vitamin D levels.

  1. Aching Bones - Vitamin D works to support your bones by regulating calcium levels within the body. It does this in partnership with vitamin K. If you want to increase your vitamin D intake, also taking vitamin K supplements could help support bone function. If you aren’t getting enough vitamin D your bones can weaken and you could be more at risk of stress fractures. If your bones are aching, it may be due to a vitamin D deficiency.
  2. Weak Muscles - Vitamin D is needed for normal muscle function. If your muscles are feeling weak, they may be losing strength due to vitamin D deficiency. This can be more common in older people because elderly people’s skin cannot make vitamin D as well as when they were younger.
  3. Feeling Low - Serotonin levels in the brain can be affected by Vitamin D. Serotonin is known as the happy hormone because it is important in keeping your moods up and you feeling your best. A low mood, especially in winter, could be a sign of vitamin D deficiency.
  4. Constant Coughs and Colds - Vitamin D is important for your immune system, and not getting enough may mean your immune defences do not react properly when you come into contact with a cold. It may be worth taking vitamin D as part of an immune system supplement plan.
  5. Gut Problems - Vitamin D is a fat-soluble nutrient and so it is affected by any gastrointestinal conditions that affect your body’s ability to adsorb fat. If this occurs, you may be at a greater risk of vitamin D deficiency.

If you think you are showing any of these signs of a vitamin D deficiency, you can easily test your symptoms with a blood spot test. BetterYou have a Vitamin D Test Kit to check your vitamin D levels from the comfort of your own home. Receive a personalised supplementation plan provided based on your results, and a complimentary Vitamin D supplement upon completion. With BetterYou, it’s easy to check if you are at risk of vitamin D deficiency.

What Causes Vitamin D Deficiency?

Vitamin D can be absorbed naturally by the sun, hence its nickname as the “sunshine vitamin”. Vitamin D can also be provided naturally through your diet. Therefore, there are many reasons why you would not get enough vitamin D and be at risk of vitamin D deficiency. The cause of vitamin D deficiency is a lack of the vitamin in diet or through supplements, which causes the health concerns which appear during deficiency.

Sources of Vitamin D

If you are not getting enough vitamin D through your diet, here are some foods that are natural sources of vitamin D. Not eating enough of these could be causing vitamin D deficiency:

  • Oily fish (tuna, mackerel, salmon)
  • Eggs
  • Dairy products (milk, cheese)
  • Beef liver
  • Fortified foods (cereal, breads, juices)

Eating more of these foods can be a way to encourage your vitamin D intake and avoid the unwanted issues which appear as the signs of deficiency.

Are You at Risk of Vitamin D Deficiency?

Certain groups of people may be more at risk of low levels of vitamin D. Those at a higher risk of vitamin D deficiency include:

    • Pregnant and breastfeeding - Those pregnant or breastfeeding may be at risk of vitamin D deficiency because not only is vitamin D helpful in conception, but it also helps to support a healthy full-term pregnancy. Including vitamin D in your pregnancy supplements can help infant growth and development, so it is important for those breastfeeding too.
    • People aged 65 and over - For those over the age of 65 there is a higher risk of vitamin D deficiency. The body finds it harder to make vitamin D as you age. Vitamin D deficiency in older people can lead to a loss in mobility and could add to symptoms of osteoporosis, and increase the risk of falls and fragility fractures.
    • Children under 5 - Vitamin D is important for children’s development of bones and muscles. Any child could be at risk of developing rickets if they do not get enough vitamin D from sunlight or their diet. Children younger than 5 are more at risk of low calcium blood levels if they are deficient in vitamin D and could consider taking children’s vitamins to help healthy development.
    • People with no/low sun exposure - Many people do not get enough sun exposure. This may be because they work indoors or do not live in a climate with decent sun exposure. In the UK, UVB rays aren’t strong enough between November and March for vitamin D production. This means that for large parts of the year, vitamin D production from the sun is impossible.
    • Those with darker skin - Those with higher levels of melanin in their skin may be at higher risk of developing vitamin D deficiency. This is because the melanin in the skin acts as a natural barrier to UVB rays. This means less UVB enters the skin and the body produces less vitamin D.
    • Vegetarians & Vegans - People who avoid meat and other animal products in their diet may be more susceptible to vitamin D deficiency. The above food sources of vitamin D mean that dietary requirements may affect ability to find natural sources of the vitamin. Vegetarians and vegans may consider taking vitamin D supplements to ensure they’re getting adequate amounts of vitamin D. Explore both our vegan supplements and vegetarian supplements ranges to help your body get the boost of vitamins it needs.

The people on this list could be at risk of developing vitamin D deficiency. Always seek medical advice from your GP if you think you may be at risk of vitamin D deficiency and before taking supplements.

Encourage Vitamin D Intake with BetterYou

The BetterYou range of Vitamin D Oral Sprays have been specially formulated to deliver vitamin D directly into the mouth. The mouth is an excellent receptor for supplements because of its soft, absorbent tissue and because it is so close to the body’s vein system.

BetterYou’s award-winning range of Vitamin D Supplements are available in a number of dosage strengths for the whole family, and different at-risk groups. BetterYou Oral Sprays are a pioneering and convenient solution to traditional vitamin D supplementation.

Conveniently deliver essential nutrients using oral sprays with 100% natural flavouring, designed to support vitamin D absorption and encourage a lower risk of vitamin D deficiency.

Supplementing With BetterYou

BetterYou are a natural health company specialising in key nutrient supplementation. With pill-free vitamins and supplements, you can support your body in getting the correct dosage of vital nutrients. With magnesium supplements for better sleep, iron supplements for energy, and health test kits to check your levels, BetterYou can help support a healthy lifestyle.

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