This nutrient is known as the “sunshine vitamin” and experts believe that up to 90% of adults in the United States are deficient in it. This could be a very serious health pattern for society that is not getting enough attention. It’s no wonder why vitamin D is the most recommended of supplements by physicians today. Most adults are believed to be at least a little bit deficient in Vitamin D, so here is some in-depth information on vitamin D deficiency symptoms adults may have to determine if this may be something affecting your health.
What is Vitamin D?
This major nutrient is important for your general health, but is especially important for your bones, muscles, lungs, brain and immune system. Your body has the ability to manufacture vitamin D on it’s own when sunlight hits your bare skin, but it is also absorbed from some of the foods that you eat.
The molecular form of vitamin D has to constantly be changed by your body because it is such a versatile nutrient. It is used to keep minerals in your bloodstream in check and helps your cells communicate with each other properly. (1)
This is why vitamin D is so powerful and valuable.
Years ago, doctors had discovered that supplementation with vitamin D had helped prevent rickets in children. They then made the connection between sunlight exposure and healthy bones: vitamin D.
Recent research is now showing that vitamin D is essential in preventing infection and treating many other health problems from brain disorders to digestive disruptions. (2)
Vitamins are chemicals that are “vital amines” to your body. However, what encompasses the term “vitamin” can be very confusing because they are just classifications for compounds that have been determined by scientists to have a necessary function in the body. All vitamins are very different on the molecular level.
Vitamin D is unlike other vitamins because your body makes it in the presence of light. You must get minerals from your food, but even if you don’t eat, you may still get nutrition from the light.
I’ve always thought that this was some sort of symbolism linking light to life.
Other Sources of Vitamin D
You may also get vitamin D from the foods that you eat, but it won’t be enough to satisfy your daily recommended allowance. The amount found in foods are minuscule and, on top of that, your body only absorbs a small amount of it in your digestive system.
This is why sunlight is always the best source of vitamin D
If you are trying to get more vitamin D in your system, try to eat these rich foods:
- Fish oil(cod, salmon, tuna, etc.)
- Raw Milk
Functions of Vitamin D in the Body
Vitamin D has so many functions because it is such a versatile molecule. In my opinion, it is the most important vitamin and the one you should be worrying about getting the most. This is because it’s very easy to get adequate nutrition by eating a healthy lifestyle with fruits and vegetables, but getting enough sunlight can be a challenge for many first-worlders.
There is a huge list of ways that vitamin D benefits health and it is constantly increasing, but some of them include:
- Helping the body absorb calcium to keep bones strong.
- Reducing the damage done by allergies.
- Blocking the release of parathyroid hormone that makes bones thin and brittle
- Being the foundation molecule for the production of serotonin in the brain
- This passively prevents feelings of depression and anxiety because serotonin is the neurotransmitter that prevents emotions from reaching extreme highs and lows. It helps you feel calm and in control.
- This also helps prevent insomnia because serotonin turns into melatonin when your eyes are in the darkness. Melatonin is the compound that helps you fall asleep and stay asleep. When degraded, the molecule turns into DMT, the dream molecule that allows for deep rest, dreaming, and possibly lucid and vivid dreams. (4)
- Helping the immune system develop healthy white blood cells that can learn how to deal with infections and poisons for the future.
- Helping muscles function properly.
- Promoting a healthy heart and circulation.
- Preventing DNA damage that causes cancer. (5)
- Helping with overall detoxification.
Doctors are still trying to fully understand what vitamin D does in your body and how it works.
Vitamin D2 Versus D3
There are a few forms of vitamin D available in supplement form, but the two most common are vitamin D2 and D3. There is some speculation regarding which one is healthier and which is more easily absorbed by the body.
This compound, also known as ergocalciferol, is produced by some plants after being exposed to UV radiation. Mushrooms especially take advantage of this feature in nature for their own benefit.
To make vitamin D2 supplements, manufacturers will irradiate mushrooms and then harvest the large amount of vitamin D2 they are being forced to produce. This is then used as a cheap way to “fortify” our foods to “increase” nutrient quality in alternative milks, white breads, etc.
Also known as cholecalciferol, this molecule is the most biologically available to the bodies of animals and humans. When sunlight reaches our skin, this is the form of vitamin D that is produced in our body.
Vitamin D3 is important for many processes in our body, including all of the ones discussed above. It is crucial for it to be present in the body for bones to remain calcified.
Scientists discovered that this form of vitamin D was the bioavailable one in humans after treating rickets with cod liver oil. (6)
So which one is best?
There are numerous studies done by researchers to determine which form of vitamin D is most beneficial for humans in ingest in supplement form. They all come to the same conclusion:
Vitamin D3 is by far the most beneficial Vitamin D supplement.
Simply, more of it is absorbed by the digestive system and it has many more functions that your body can benefit from it. It is estimated that D3 is four times better absorbed in the body and unlike D2, has shown that is can decrease mortality rates in animals and humans. Supplementation with vitamin D3 has been proven to negate the effects of lack of sunlight during winter months, while D2 has not been proven to do anything. (7)
The Vitamin D Deficiency Symptoms Adults Will Have
If you are deficient in Vitamin D, you can have a multitude of different symptoms. Deficiency of this vitamin will not always cause symptoms. But when it does, it can cause the following:
- Bone pain and fragility
- Muscle Weakness
- Trouble concentrating
- Constant fatigue
- Trouble sleeping
- Bad moods, mood swings, anxiety, depression, etc.
- Heavy sweating through the hair on your head
- Trouble digesting fats
- Other digestive issues
- Pale skin that is easily damaged
- Heart flutter
These are just general symptoms of deficiency and can include many other symptoms that are unique to your body.
Vitamin D Deficiency Causes
It’s important to realize that 90% of the vitamin D that your body absorbs comes directly from sunlight exposure on bare skin. Regular indoor light does not produce vitamin D on your skin because it doesn’t have ultraviolet B rays.
Lack of Sunlight Exposure
The main reason why so many people are deficient in vitamin D is simply because we don’t go outside enough when the sun is out. Many children especially are spending their days inside; watching television, video games, watching youtube videos, etc.
On the same note, adults mostly work indoors, exercise in gyms and relax inside their homes when they are done. We simply do not even think about making sunlight exposure a priority each day because we are very busy.
And that is understandable.
Overuse of Sunscreen and SPF
Many health advisers this past decade have been exaggerating the importance of SPF on your skin, especially your face. Since the incidences of skin cancer has been rising over the recent years, this may be the reason why. However, doctors don’t fully understand how sunlight and UV rays promote cancer.
There is evidence that shows that UV light from the sun can damage the skin, but none appears to directly link sunlight to cancer. There is evidence that sunlight + petroleum products can cause DNA damage in the skin. Many skin products like lotions, toners, face washes incorporate petroleum ingredients like petrolatum and mineral oil. (8)
There is nothing to confirm or deny that mineral oil and UV radiation can cause DNA damage, but this is something that I think is likely. Time and research will tell and I will revisit the topic. I am simply suggesting that plain sunlight on skin will not cause cancer in nature.
The thing that I and doctors can’t repeat enough is that sunlight is going to be the best and most natural source of Vitamin D for your body. However, there are many great supplements that can provide your body with a natural source of vitamin D.
I make sure to include foods that are high in vitamin D in my daily meals and my most important supplement is vitamin D3. I take a little extra on cloudy days or when I don’t get a chance to get any sun.
My favorite natural brand for vitamin D3 is HPF Vitamin D3 Liquid for High Performance. I have never actually tried a vitamin D3 supplement and felt results until I tried this one. This product is highly recommended and also available in smaller sizes if you are on a budget or just want to try it.
I am always here for you, so if you have something to add about the vitamin D deficiency symptoms adults may have, please leave me a comment!
Talk to you soon,