There’s been a lot of focus on vitamin D lately and, in particular, how deficient most of us are. With winter coming up and less sunlight to be exposed to, together with the fact that very few foods contain enough of the vitamin to cover our daily needs, our bodies struggle to produce a sufficient amount of vitamin D needed to keep us at optimal health.
It’s become a massive problem in parts of the world where many people have been advised to take extra supplements due to low vitamin D levels. But what are the signs that you have a vitamin D deficiency? And are some of us more susceptible to low vitamin D levels than others?
With that in mind, there are some signs that you may be suffering from low vitamin D and ways in which you can up the amount of vitamin D in your body.
1. Dark Skin Pigments
Dark skin tones are an advantage when it comes to how our skin burns when we’re out in the sun. The darker the pigment, the more natural sunscreen you have but this can go against you when it comes to getting enough of your vitamin D.
The more melanin you possess, the less chance UV light can penetrate  the skin. In other words, the more pigment you have in your skin, the longer you need to spend in the sun. Take into account the winter months and your amount of potential vitamin D is decreased immensely.
2. Your Mood Is Low
While the sign of a low mood can’t completely determine low vitamin D, it can be an indicator. Serotonin increases and decreases in the brain depending on exposure to light.
This is why many people suffer from depression during winter months but in terms of vitamin D, there has been a link between low levels of vitamin D and high risk of depression in older people.  In fact, those with low vitamin D levels were 11 times more likely to suffer from depression.
If you find your mood is consistently low, then it would be advised to go to a doctor and get your vitamin D levels checked out.
3. You Have Digestion Trouble
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin. Many gastrointestinal conditions affecting our gut leads to an inability to absorb fat and therefore less able to take in the fat-soluble vitamin D.
No matter how much you take in, your body won’t be able to convert it. Therefore, those suffering from conditions such as Chron’s, celiac and gluten-sensitivity should be aware of low vitamin D in their system.
4. You Are Overweight Or Obese
Those carrying more weight are also more likely to have a vitamin D deficiency. A study was conducted that showed with each unit increase in BMI (body mass index) there was a 1.15% decrease in vitamin D levels in the blood. 
This is thought to be because of vitamin D’s fat-soluble nature. Since it’s fat-soluble, the body’s fat collects the vitamin D, therefore the more fat you carry, the more likely you’ll need a larger amount of vitamin D compared to someone slimmer.
5. You Have Aching Bones
Aches and pains are often misdiagnosed by doctors such as fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome. While these could well be the cause, another cause could be low vitamin D. The vitamin D deficiency known as osteomalacia is different to that of osteoporosis and is also previously called rickets in children.
The softening of the bones caused by low vitamin D occurs because the bone mineralisation involving calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D can’t happen optimally and the bones start to weaken causing aches and pains.
6. You Get A Sweaty Head
Believe it or not, one of the first signs of vitamin D deficiency is profuse sweating on the head.
Neuromuscular irritability from low vitamin D is thought to be the cause and can be found in newborn babies if they do not get enough vitamin D. 
7. You’re Aged 50 Or Over
As your skin ages, its ability to absorb vitamin D lessens. Together with this, your kidneys are less efficient over time in converting vitamin D to be passed into the blood.
For people much older, staying indoors more often and not getting sufficient sunlight is also a huge factor in low vitamin D.
Ways You Can Combat Low Vitamin D Levels
If you feel you fall into any of the above categories, here are some tips on getting more vitamin D into your body.
- Get more sun exposure: An obvious one but making a conscious effort to expose yourself to more sunlight is important to up your vitamin D. It’s also important to be safe while doing so and not to burn your skin – around 15 minutes is enough for an average person so try to up this to 20-25 minutes safely.
- Use ultraviolet lamps and bulbs: If you live somewhere that doesn’t get much sunlight then consider investing in a UV lamp. While these carry the same risks as a sunbed, careful use can help your body to produce and absorb the vitamin D it needs.
- Supplements: Taking vitamin D supplements can help up your intake and is a good way to easily incorporate it into your daily routine.
- Eat more foods containing vitamin D: Foods such as fatty fish, egg yolks, canned tuna fish and fortified food and drinks can help to up your intake, however, eating a massive amount of these foods won’t make a difference by itself. Combine these with a vitamin D supplement or extra sunlight if possible.
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