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How to Know if You Have a Vitamin D Deficiency

Medically Approved by Dr. Edward Salko

Table of Contents

A growing number of adults worldwide are deficient in Vitamin D — an important nutrient that plays a role in maintaining a healthy weight as well as strong bones and a healthy immune system.

If you are overweight and struggling to lose weight, a Vitamin D deficiency could be the culprit.

If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, it could be an indication that you need to get your Vitamin D levels checked:

weakened immune system

  • higher frequency of colds, flu and respiratory infections
  • feeling chronically tired or fatigued
  • hair loss
  • weakened bones and bone loss
  • bone pain and lower back pain
  • muscle pain
  • cardiovascular disease
  • depression
  • development of diabetes
  • slower healing times when wounded
  • multiple sclerosis
  • certain types of cancer.

What is Vitamin D?

You may be surprised to learn that Vitamin D is not a vitamin at all, but rather a hormone that is produced by one’s kidneys.

Vitamin D is created by a chemical reaction that occurs when sunlight hits one’s skin. If you spend a lot of time indoors — especially between the hours of 10 AM and 2 PM when sunlight is at its strongest — you are likely to be lacking in Vitamin D. It is very difficult to get enough Vitamin D through one’s diet. In fact, only about 10% of the Vitamin D you need comes from food such as dairy products and fatty fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel, shrimp, egg yolks and wild mushrooms that have grown in the sunlight.

What does Vitamin D Do?

Vitamin D helps to maintain optimal blood calcium levels which are needed to keep one’s bones strong and healthy. People with weakened bones due to a Vitamin D deficiency are more susceptible to falling and becoming injured due to a fall.

Studies also show vitamin D helps regulate adrenaline, noradrenaline (also called norepinepherine), and dopamine production in the brain and protect against serotonin depletion.

That’s why individuals who are Vitamin D deficient are more likely to struggle with depression.

How Much Vitamin D Do You Need to Stay Healthy?

Guidelines from the National Institutes of Health say that people as young as age 1 and up to age 70 should need to get at least 600 International Units (IU) of Vitamin D daily, while adults aged 71 and over should strive for 800 IU per day. Infants up to 12 months should be getting 400 IU of Vitamin D per day to be healthy.

How Much Vitamin D is Too Much?

You cannot get too much Vitamin D from sun exposure because the body naturally limits the amount of Vitamin D it produces. However, excessive use of Vitamin D supplements can be toxic and lead to health problems like confusion, disorientation, nausea, vomiting, constipation, weakness, weight loss, and heart rhythm irregularities.

The maximum recommended amounts of vitamin D are:

  • 1,000 to 1,500 IU/day for infants,
  • 2,500 to 3,000 IU/day for children 1-8 years, and
  • 4,000 IU/day for children 9 years and older, adults, and pregnant and lactating teens and women.

How to Get Tested for a Vitamin D Deficiency

An easy way to determine if you have a Vitamin D deficiency is with a Vitamin D-25 Hydroxy Test from Personalabs. You can order your Vitamin D and other vitamin and nutrition tests online directly from Personalabs, and get tested at a convenient lab location near you.

Your Vitamin D test results will be available to you within 1-2 business days in your secure private Personalabs patient portal.

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