Vitamin D Deficiency Q & A
Where does vitamin D come from?
Vitamin D is a hormone, not a vitamin, that comes from your kidneys. Its main function is to regulate calcium within your bloodstream.
Outside your body, vitamin D comes from three sources: the sun, food, and dietary supplements. Food sources of vitamin D include:
- Fatty fish such as salmon and canned tuna
- Fortified orange juice
- Fortified milk
- Egg yolks
Food, though, isn’t a reliable sole source of vitamin D because it’s extremely difficult to get enough of it through your diet.
Sunshine and dietary supplements are generally considered the only reliable ways to get the amount of vitamin D your body needs. When you stand in the sun, your skin produces vitamin D of its own. However, because too much sun exposure can be very damaging to the skin, supplements are usually the safest and most effective way to get vitamin D.
What are the signs of vitamin D deficiency?
A vitamin D deficiency contributes to issues with bone and mineral metabolism. However, increasing evidence also points to vitamin D’s role in your immune system and inflammatory responses. Vitamin D deficiency may result in:
- Chronic fatigue
- Muscle pain
- Joint pain
- Weight gain
- Concentration problems
Vitamin D modifies bone cell activity and facilitates their formation. Severe vitamin D deficiency in childhood can cause rickets, which is an abnormal development of the bones. A deficiency in vitamin D can also contribute to osteoporosis and bone fractures in adults.
Why might I be deficient in vitamin D?
You might think that a well-rounded diet provides the vitamin D you need, but that’s not the case. You might also assume that if you wear sunscreen, you can reap the benefits of vitamin D from sun exposure, but sunscreen blocks your body from producing vitamin D as it would if exposed to sunlight while unprotected.
You might also have a vitamin D deficiency despite taking daily multivitamins because they don’t contain nearly enough vitamin D to meet the recommended intake. Even with a healthy diet, a daily multivitamin, and some sun exposure, it’s quite common for patients to suffer from vitamin D deficiency.
How much vitamin D do I need?
This varies based on your age, weight, and other individual factors. Your doctor at Ally Endocrinology can recommend a daily supplementation routine to correct your deficiency. This may include over-the-counter supplements or prescription supplements, depending on your specific needs.
What health problems can vitamin D deficiency cause?
Vitamin D deficiency can cause a number of health problems, and current research suggests that it may play a role in many major diseases. Bone density loss is one of the biggest problems caused by vitamin D deficiency. This loss of density can result in weak bones that are more susceptible to fracture and may contribute to osteoporosis.
Make an appointment with the team at Ally Endocrinology anytime using the online appointment tool, or call any of the convenient office locations to arrange a consultation.