Chances are you are asking the question, “What are the symptoms of a Vitamin D deficiency?” because you suspect you may have one. Getting 100% of our daily recommended vitamins is so important at this time in our lives ladies, and Vitamin D is essential!
First, let’s take a look at what Vitamin D does for us. From an early age, Vitamin D iscrucial to bone (and teeth) development because it helps the bones to absorb calcium from food. Later in life, it helps to prevent brittle bones and fractures. How many times have you heard that an over 50 person broke their hip? If you get regular check-ups, your doctor is going to recommend taking calcium supplements, but Vitamin D is crucial to the absorption of the calcium. The proper amount of Vitamin D may also optimize your immune system and decrease your chances for heart disease and multiple sclerosis.
So What ARE the Symptoms of a Vitamin D Deficiency?
Are you sweating even though you haven’t changed your activity level,? Is your temperature normal and the weather outside is fine? Are you noticing muscle weakness at unexpected times and feelings of exhaustion? Do you have chronic pain or are you experiencing aches or pain in your joints, muscles and bones? How about broken bones? Are you experiencing depression or just feeling down a good part of the day? These are some of the symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency (1).
In all my studies on this topic, I can say the following 4 things with utmost confidence:
- The only 3 ways to get Vitamin D is by the sun, food, or supplements.
- Although the sun is the most natural and cheapest way to get Vitamin D, there are things that can hinder its effectiveness.
- Getting your Vitamin D from food sources is ideal, but a very hard task indeed, especially after the age of 50.
- Not all Vitamin D supplements are equal or beneficial.
Vitamin D and the Sun
According to the Archives of Internal Medicine (2009), 3 out 4 people have low levels of Vitamin D.(2) Experts agree that this has so much to do with the shift toward indoor life. Vitamin D is produced in our bodies in response to ultraviolet rays. Our bodies are designed to spend time outdoors, and yet more and more, people are spending a good deal of their lives inside. When they do go out, they are cautioned to cover up any exposed skin with sunscreen to lessen their chances of getting skin cancer. Unfortunately, many of these ‘protectants’ contain harmful, toxic chemicals, and block the Vitamin D production stimulated by the sun. The factors inhibiting the sun from being the sole source of Vitamin D are:
- The shift toward indoor life
- Working indoors
- Living in big cities where the sun is blocked by tall buildings
- Dark skin (skin does not absorb the ultraviolet rays)
Vitamin D and Food
Although getting your Vitamin D from food sources is ideal, there are not very many foods that contain a substantial amount of Vitamin D (3). Some foods are fortified with Vitamin D, such as milk, cereal and bread. But again, there is most likely not enough Vitamin D to meet your needs for the day. Here is a chart put together by the USDA with the top foods containing Vitamin D. Please keep in mind that the federal government has set the recommended daily allowance (RDA) at 600 IU. According to the Vitamin D Council, the RDA should be 5000 IU!!! for healthy adults… especially for our age group ladies!
|Table 3: Selected Food Sources of Vitamin D |
|Food||IUs per serving*||Percent DV**|
|Cod liver oil, 1 tablespoon||1,360||340|
|Swordfish, cooked, 3 ounces||566||142|
|Salmon (sockeye), cooked, 3 ounces||447||112|
|Tuna fish, canned in water, drained, 3 ounces||154||39|
|Orange juice fortified with vitamin D, 1 cup (check product labels, as amount of added vitamin D varies)||137||34|
|Milk, nonfat, reduced fat, and whole, vitamin D-fortified, 1 cup||115-124||29-31|
|Yogurt, fortified with 20% of the DV for vitamin D, 6 ounces (more heavily fortified yogurts provide more of the DV)|
|Margarine, fortified, 1 tablespoon||60||15|
|Sardines, canned in oil, drained, 2 sardines||46||12|
|Liver, beef, cooked, 3 ounces||42||11|
|Egg, 1 large (vitamin D is found in yolk)||41||10|
|Ready-to-eat cereal, fortified with 10% of the DV for vitamin D, 0.75-1 cup (more heavily fortified cereals might provide more of the DV)||40||10|
|Cheese, Swiss, 1 ounce||6||2|
* IUs = International Units. ** DV = Daily Value. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration developed DVs to help consumers compare the nutrient contents among products within the context of a total daily diet.
Vitamin D and Supplements
Yes! Yes! and again, Yes! We should be taking a Vitamin D supplement! THEY ARE NOT ALL CREATED EQUALLY! Many manufacturers are using D2 in a Vitamin D supplement and this just won’t cut it. They use it because it is synthetic (and therefore cheaper to make). Do not use a supplement with D2 in it ladies. The reports are bad. 100% natural Vitamin D3 is what you should use.
In conclusion, I hope you have an answer to the question, “What are the symptoms of a Vitamin D deficiency.” Whether you have symptoms or not, you need to take a Vitamin D3 supplement. I am including Vitamin D3 – Amazon’s Top 100. Personally, I use drops (2000 IU) and put three on my tongue with breakfast. There are plenty of options on the list; so take a look, remember everything you’ve learned here and…
You have a lovely website and beautiful offerings for us girls heading into our golden years. I look forward to reading more of your articles so will bookmark your website. Totally agree about laughter, not just for us girls but for the boys too, everybody in fact. I use to what my dad sit in his favorite armchair every night at 7pm to watch a Benny Hill comedy – he was always in fits of laughter, and my laughter every night was watching him. Just remembering that makes me laugh 🙂 By the way my dad was 94 when he… Read more »
Hi Rina! So glad you stopped by, and thanks for sharing a bit about your mom and dad. What a great memory and such a testimony to the benefits of laughter! I’m glad you like the site and bookmarked it. I was wondering if you saw the pop-up which allows you to sign up for updates to the site? It eases in after a minute of being on the site. Anyway, keep laughing! Robin
Hi Robin, As a person in his late 50’s now, I can tell you that this was a very informative article about the possible long-term effects of having a Vitamin D deficiency. And one that needs to be read by any person over the age of 50! Although not necessarily the result of this deficiency, (as never proven) I know of two relatives, now deceased who did suffer from broken bones in falls that, had they taken place in a younger person might not have had the same results. One relative broke her hip. Unfortunately months later at the age… Read more »
Thanks for commenting Jeff! Did you know your name means “Peaceful”? I only know because I named my first son Jeffrey. Wow, 96 huh? That’s quite a long life! I am determined to do everything in my power to live a long, healthy life. It’s important to study and change where needed. Some changes come hard, and some are never made. Vitamin D is an easy, beneficial fix. I have made it and hope others reading this article will too! It’s pretty inexpensive too! Thanks for sharing some of your family’s journey Jeff! Peace 🙂
Hey, very nice site. I came across this on Google, and I am stoked that I did. I will definitely be coming back here more often. Wish I could add to the conversation and bring a bit more to the table, but am just taking in as much info as I can at the moment. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks so much for stopping by! …what kind of info were you searching for? Nice site by the way! Wheelchairs are so important. My ex-husband is a paraplegic so I can speak. I haven’t been to India, but I’ve been to Africa and saw so many without the use of their legs just pulling themselves along the sidewalks. Heartbreaking. Well, take care and come back soon. Don’t forget to tell your friends 🙂
Vitamin D deficiency is so prevalent that guidelines say we don’t even need to measure blood levels to make the diagnosis in at-risk groups (including women over 50) who have muscle or bone aches and pains. You can only make vitamin D in your skin when UV levels are at least 3, which for those in northern hemispheres is not that often. You also make around 4-fold less vitamin D in your 60s than in your 20s so deficeicny increases with age. A supplement is essential in my view.
Thank you Dr. Sarah, for verifying the article. I can see that you have an extensive background in nutrition and have written over 60 books. Are you also in agreement concerning D2 vs. D3? My understanding is that D2 is synthetic, cheap, and its use has been linked to higher mortality rates. http://www.liveinthenow.com/article/vitamin-d-news… I would so appreciate your feedback on this and thank you so much for commenting on the article!