Vitamin D deficiency is most common in areas that receive little sunlight and in populations whose diets include few natural vitamin D sources. Milk, juice and cereals are often fortified with vitamin D in an effort to fight vitamin D deficiency.
Severe vitamin D deficiency causes the bones to soften and leads to bone disorders. In children, the most visible sign of vitamin D deficiency is bowed arms and legs. In adults, the most common symptom of vitamin D deficiency is generalised bone and muscle pain.
Low vitamin D levels are linked to an increased risk ofmany diseases, including asthma, colds, high blood pressure, multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis and seasonal affective disorder.
Other signs and symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency include bone fractures, fatigue, insomnia, low immunity and mood swings.
Anyone can have a vitamin D deficiency, but because dark skin produces less vitamin D than light skin does, people of African descent are most susceptible. Obesity also increases susceptibility to vitamin D deficiency.
Symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency are often subtle and overlooked. If you do not receive much direct sunlight or consume many foods that contain vitamin D, consider asking your doctor for a vitamin D test.