20 Vitamin D Deficiency Symptoms

Vitamin D is commonly known as the sun vitamin, but its health benefits make it worth taking supplementally all year round. Some of its benefits include helping the body absorb calcium, regulating cell growth, and boosting the immune system. Since vitamin D plays such an important role in overall health, there are plenty of symptoms that may result from deficiency. From simple signs like fatigue and muscle weakness to more complex symptoms like autoimmune disease and liver problems, there are plenty of reasons to up your vitamin D intake. Read on to discover what health concerns may be related to this vital vitamin.

Reduced Endurance

Those who frequently workout or are athletes may be thrown off guard if their endurance suddenly decreases noticeably. If there’s no obvious explanation, such as a diet change or poor sleeping habits, it may be that the sneaky culprit is vitamin D deficiency.

Man doing fitness trail
BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Experts have found that one of vitamin D’s many roles is contributing to energy levels. That’s why some fitness gurus add vitamin D supplements to their protein shakes or smoothies. It can help ensure that your endurance is as optimal as possible.

Hair Loss

One thing that can be easily overlooked in terms of vitamin D benefits is hair health. While certain nutrients are commonly associated with hair growth, like biotin and protein, there are a plethora of contributing factors, including vitamin D.

Jeff Hochberg/Getty Images
Jeff Hochberg/Getty Images

A study conducted at Cairo University found that hair loss in females ages 18 to 45 was linked to vitamin D deficiency. Research has also linked vitamin D deficiency to alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease that causes hair loss. Keeping your vitamin D levels high may help keep your locks healthy and help ward off threatening conditions.

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure, aka hypertension, affects millions of people in the United States each year, making it relatively common. Unfortunately, hypertension can contribute to a higher risk of heart attack and stroke.

BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

A study review by Harvard University found that vitamin D deficiency can increase a person’s risk of having high blood pressure. Based on their findings, it can be deduced that keeping your vitamin D levels where they should be could have a positive impact on blood pressure.

Fractures

A major reason that vitamin D is related to bone pain is due to its role in helping the body absorb calcium. Since calcium plays a major role in bone strength, it’s imperative to be sure that you not only consume enough but also that your body is equipped to utilize it.

UK - Wirral - Football Physiotherapist
Colin McPherson/Corbis via Getty Images
Colin McPherson/Corbis via Getty Images

That’s why when someone gets a bone fracture, it’s common for the doctor to also want to test their vitamin D levels. Having an adequate amount of vitamin D and calcium can help keep your bones stronger and less prone to fractures.

Wounds Taking Long To Heal

Since vitamin D plays a role in cell growth and new tissue formation, it’s a vital nutrient when it comes to healing wounds. A 2012 study found a link between better healing and vitamin D intake when studying participants with leg ulcers.

Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images
Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

If your wounds seem to take abnormally long to heal, vitamin D deficiency may have something to do with it. Since accidents happen all the time, it’s worth keeping your vitamin D levels optimum so that when you do get hurt, your body is prepared to heal.

Frequent Sickness And Infections

Another way that vitamin D helps the body heal is by boosting the immune system. More specifically, the nutrient helps regulate immune function and ward off inflammation. A 2014 study found that vitamin D was related to participants’ chances of developing pneumonia and the severity of symptoms.

BSIP/UIG Via Getty Images
BSIP/UIG Via Getty Images

While taking vitamin C is often thought of as the key way to ward off sicknesses, being healthy is a holistic process. When at higher risk of getting sick, consider boosting your vitamin D, as well.

Muscle Weakness

Vitamin D not only plays an important role in keeping bones healthy but also helping muscles function. If you’ve been finding it unexplainably difficult to pull off your regular fitness regime, it may be that boosting your vitamin D intake could help.

sore-muscles
BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Muscle weakness can be tied to tons of factors, like diet and sleep habits. However, if muscle weakness is combined with other symptoms on this list, it may be worth trying out a vitamin D supplement to see if anything changes.

Back Pain

Since vitamin D is related to bone and muscle health, it makes sense that the nutrient may help ward off back pain. Research shows that those suffering from back pain are often also vitamin D deficient.

BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Adversely, those with sufficient vitamin D levels are less likely to be subject to back pain. Since severe back pain can limit daily activities, anything that may help should be taken seriously. As we’ve seen, vitamin D can help mobility in various ways.

Weight Gain

Given all of the previous symptoms mentioned, it follows that vitamin D deficiency can also contribute to weight gain. Between lowered endurance, muscle weakness, joint pain, bone fractures, and difficulty healing, there’d be a ton of obstacles in the way of working out without vitamin D.

Ryan Pyle/Corbis via Getty Images
Ryan Pyle/Corbis via Getty Images

A 2018 study found that vitamin D deficiency was related specifically to increased weight circumference. Another study found that boosting vitamin D helped participants lose weight in their waist and hips, and also contributed to an overall lower BMI.

Experiencing Depression

Vitamin D doesn’t jump impact your physical body; it can also have an effect on your mood! A 2019 research review concluded that those with vitamin D deficiency were more likely to suffer from depression due to its impact on brain receptors.

depressed-man
Ben White/Unsplash
Ben White/Unsplash

Since seasonal affective disorder is characterized by mood swings based on the weather, it can be tricky to know if that’s the culprit or just vitamin D. The two may go hand in hand since vitamin D is present in sunlight.

Feeling Anxious

Another unpleasant psychological condition that vitamin D may assist with is anxiety. A 2015 study found that participants suffering from anxiety disorders tended to have lower vitamin D levels than those who don’t experience those conditions.

Lars Eriksson/Pixabay
Lars Eriksson/Pixabay

Researchers also found that increasing vitamin D can have a positive impact on mood. As with depression, it’s possible that vitamin D can play an important role in overcoming certain mental health challenges. Getting enough of the vital nutrient may also lower people’s risk of developing such conditions.

Being Overly Tired

A study conducted by Cooper University Hospital found that increasing vitamin D intake for five weeks had a positive impact on their participants’ fatigue. Being tired is so commonplace that it can be difficult to tell if it’s normal or not.

NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP via Getty Images
NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP via Getty Images

Fatigue can impact the overall quality of life and is often caused by more than one factor. Diet plays a huge role, though, since getting the right nutrition is key to fueling the body. Vitamin D’s various functions make it a helpful part of combating excessive sleepiness.

Irritability

Different phases of life can make it easy to become irritable more during certain times than others. But there are ways to combat crankiness, including taking more vitamin D! The nutrient can have a positive impact on serotonin production, helping to balance your mood.

James D. Morgan/Getty Images
James D. Morgan/Getty Images

Plus, the underlying reason for your irritability may be any number of the things on this list, which vitamin D can also aid. Whether it’s exhaustion, pain, depression, sickness, or a combination of things, staying on top of your vitamin D intake may help.

Respiratory Issues

In addition to helping you stay healthy overall through immune and cell support, vitamin D may also contribute to respiratory wellness. Studies have shown it is linked to the reduced likeliness of developing infections in the upper respiratory tract, especially in children.

Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images
Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images

A 2012 study also found that vitamin D intake helped reduce the impact of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in participants who were previously deficient. While vitamin D alone may not cure respiratory issues, research suggests it can help.

Cardiovascular Disease

A 2013 study by Boston University found a connection between vitamin D levels and risk of cardiovascular disease. Researchers surmise that it may be due to vitamin D’s ability to combat inflammation and hypertension.

Senior man with chest pain is comforted by his concerned wife.
John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images
John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images

Studies have also shown that being vitamin D deficient can increase your risk of experiencing congestive heart failure. Since heart health is so important, consider taking vitamin D supplements or opting for more foods naturally high in or enriched with vitamin D.

Infertility

Though vitamin D deficiency doesn’t directly cause infertility, it may be related to a condition that does. Research indicates that not having enough vitamin D may increase your chance of developing polycystic ovary syndrome, which is a leading cause of infertility.

Gareth Fuller/PA Images via Getty Images
Gareth Fuller/PA Images via Getty Images

Multiple studies have also shown a connection between vitamin D and IVF, suggesting that the nutrient increases the likeliness of the procedure being successful. Plus, vitamin D deficiency has been linked to unwanted complications like gestational diabetes and preterm births.

Sweaty Head (For Babies)

One sign that an infant may be vitamin D deficient is if they have an unusually sweaty head. While it may seem like a random symptom nowadays, it used to be commonplace for doctors to ask parents if their baby exhibited this symptom.

Dominic Lipinski – WPA Pool/Getty Images
Dominic Lipinski – WPA Pool/Getty Images

Though babies can’t take vitamin D pills as adults can, the mother can consume more vitamin D to further enrich her milk. It’s possible that a nursing baby’s vitamin D deficiency is also a symptom of the mother being low in this vital nutrient.

Fever That Doesn’t Disappear

In most cases, fevers usually last between two to three days. Temperatures over 100°F often go down within this time. But if a fever continues to rise and fall over several days, it could be an early sign of cancer. Cancer Research UK claims that kidney, liver, ovarian, and lymphoma cancers may cause a persistent fever.

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Pixabay/Fanette
Pixabay/Fanette

According to Dr. Tom Iarocci, cancer fevers are usually dubbed “fevers of unknown origin.” These usually exceed 101°F and last for around three weeks without a doctor being able to diagnose it. At this point, doctors may check for blood cancers.

Developing An Autoimmune Disease

A 2017 study found that sufficient vitamin D intake may lower your risk of developing multiple sclerosis (aka MS). MS is just one of the various autoimmune diseases that research suggests is linked to vitamin D.

BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Others include type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and Crohn’s disease. Since vitamin D contributes to immune health, research shows that lack of it may increase the risk of autoimmune diseases. Those who are predisposed to autoimmune disorders may want to take vitamin D supplements and check their levels.

Abnormal Back Pain

If back pain prevents feeling and walking, it could result from spinal cancer. This usually happens when other cancer cells move to the spine, according to Dr. Mike Chen of City of Hope. Patients with kidney, lung, prostate, or breast cancer have the highest risk.

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Pixabay/mohamed_hassan
Pixabay/mohamed_hassan

According to City of Hope, cancerous back pain usually has no known cause (such as poor posture or muscle strain). The back pain often accompanies numbness in the arms or legs, and it sometimes results in difficulty controlling bladder functions.

Kidney Issues

Kidneys play an important role in cardiovascular health since they remove waste from your blood. One reason that vitamin D is linked to a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease may be that it also helps promote kidney health.

Getty Images
Getty Images

Unfortunately, kidneys become less efficient at breaking down vitamin D over time. That’s why it’s suggested to take vitamin D alongside vitamin K2, as the latter can help the body process vitamin D more efficiently. Ultimately, nutrients work together, so having a well-rounded diet is paramount.