5 Signs of a Vitamin D Deficiency

Mar 03, 2023
Vitamin D deficiency is surprisingly prevalent, and because it plays many important roles in wellness, it can cause a lot of symptoms. Knowing what those symptoms are can help you get the treatment you need to stay healthy. Here’s what to look for.

You’re probably aware that vitamin D is important for healthy bones. But what you may not know is that millions of Americans don’t have enough of this critical vitamin, and that means they’re at risk of serious medical problems. 

In fact, nearly a quarter of Americans are deficient in vitamin D or at risk of becoming deficient. 

As a leading family medicine and primary care practice in Alexandria and Lansdowne, Virginia, CN Internal Medicine offers nutritional testing and counseling to identify and manage vitamin D deficiencies and prevent its associated problems. 

In this post, we review five potential signs and symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency to help you get treatment as soon as possible.

1. Feeling worn out

Low levels of vitamin D can interfere with your sleep patterns and your quality of sleep, both of which can cause feelings of tiredness and persistent fatigue. Research shows supplementing vitamin D in people deficient in the vitamin can be very effective in reducing these symptoms.

2. Getting sick a lot

Vitamin D supports a healthy immune system, helping you fight off germs that cause illness and infection. In fact, almost every cell in your immune system is equipped with a special receptor designed to interact with vitamin D.

If you don’t have enough vitamin D, your immune system won’t be as robust as it needs to be to fight off infections, particularly respiratory tract infections like colds, pneumonia, and the flu. 

More recently, researchers found people with low levels of vitamin D also had a greater risk of developing COVID-19 infections and having more severe infections.

3. Feeling anxious or depressed

Many people think of vitamin deficiencies as affecting physical health, but they can affect emotional wellness, too. 

Studies have linked low levels of vitamin D with both anxiety disorders and depression. Your body produces some vitamin D through sun exposure, and this link with depression could explain why some people develop depression symptoms in the darker months of winter (seasonal affective disorder).

4. Not healing well

Sores or wounds that take a long time to heal can be another sign of a vitamin D deficiency. That’s because vitamin D plays key roles in healing, managing inflammation, and promoting new, healthy skin growth. 

In fact, research shows that in patients with slow-to-heal diabetic foot ulcers, vitamin D supplementation helped those ulcers heal faster.

5. Having aches and pains

Vitamin D plays an essential role in maintaining strong, healthy bones. If your levels of this vitamin are low, you could develop bone pain, especially in your back. 

Vitamin D also plays a role in nerve pathways that carry pain signaling. When levels are low, pain signaling is disrupted, which could result in a greater perception of pain. In fact, studies show patients with vitamin D deficiency tend to experience more episodes of chronic pain, like arthritis and chronic muscle pain. 

The role of supplementation

There aren’t many foods that are rich in vitamin D, which could be one reason why deficiencies are so prevalent. It’s also why many common foods — like some cereals, milk, plant milk, and orange juice — are fortified with vitamin D.

Since vitamin D in food sources is limited, supplementation is a good way to ensure you’re getting the right amounts of vitamin D to support good health. 

At CN Internal Medicine, we offer both oral supplements and IV infusions to administer vitamins directly to your bloodstream. IV infusions bypass your digestive system, making them a good choice for anyone with gastrointestinal issues that could interfere with vitamin absorption.

If you suspect you have a vitamin D deficiency, don’t ignore it. Book an appointment online or over the phone with our team at CN Internal Medicine today and learn how we can help.