Are You At Risk for Vitamin D Deficiency?

by Dr. Edward Group DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM
Published on , Last Updated on

A woman standing in a sunny field. Studies show, upwards of 75% of the population already heading toward vitamin D deficiency.Despite the positive discoveries related to the benefits of vitamin D, a number of questions remain. Many experts are still unsure as to the extent vitamin D deficiency plays in disease development. [1] Many experts also disagree on whether or not supplementation or sun exposure is best. And, there are differing opinions on how much vitamin D is necessary. Regardless of the finer details, one thing is for certain — upwards of 75% of the American population is vitamin D deficient, there ARE consequences, and it’s a problem that can only be described as pandemic. [2]

Are You Vitamin D Deficient?

Vitamin D levels (termed 25(OH)D, or 25­ Hydroxyvitamin D) are measured using a simple blood test that your doctor can order. There are also simple, inexpensive at-home tests available that use an easy blood “spot” to provide an estimation. Checking your levels at least once per year is recommended, yet some people are more diligent. Given that vitamin D deficiencies have been associated with an increased risk of common cancers, bone disorders, autoimmune disease, hypertension, and infectious diseases, it’s not a bad idea to stay on top of it. [3] If you’re getting your vitamin D levels checked, the guidelines to determine your status are as follows: [4]

  • Deficient: ? 20 ng/mL
  • Insufficient: 20-­30 ng/mL
  • Optimal: 40-70 ng/mL

Are You At Risk for Vitamin D Deficiency?

With upwards of 75% of the population already heading toward vitamin D deficiency, some might say it’s a safe bet to consider nearly everyone else at risk for vitamin D deficiency, right? It really begs the question, why is this such a problem? I don’t want to over simplify the issue but in the simplest terms… consider for a moment consider the main natural source of vitamin D — sun exposure. What are most people told to avoid or they’ll get skin cancer? Sun exposure.

Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D isn’t an optional nutrient, our bodies need it, and without it, problems can arise. Many people go through life with nagging aches and pains, allergies, malaise, and a general lack of vitality. Such nonspecific symptoms can be the result of one, or several factors, and vitamin D deficiency is one of them. Specific symptoms related to vitamin D deficiency include:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Joint aches and discomfort
  • High blood pressure
  • Inability to concentrate or focus
  • Urinary incontinence, bladder issues
  • Constipation
  • Headaches
  • Cold/flu, immune system decline
  • Mood disorders

More serious diseases linked to vitamin D deficiency include:

  • Osteoporosis
  • Heart disease
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Periodontal disease
  • Gout
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Psoriasis
  • Neurological diseases

Make Sure You Get Enough Vitamin D

With regard to vitamin D, these are the facts to know… your body will produce vitamin D if given enough sunlight exposure, vitamin D supplementation can help fill the gaps when you don’t get enough sunlight, and there are a few foods that contain vitamin D but they’re not the most reliable. Do you get enough sunlight, or do you supplement with vitamin D? Let us know your thoughts and comments on this vital nutrient!

References (4)
  1. Michael F Holick, Tai C Chen. Vitamin D deficiency: a worldwide problem with health consequences. Am J Clin Nutr April 2008 vol. 87 no. 4 1080S­1086S.
  2. Forrest KY, Stuhldreher WL. Prevalence and correlates of vitamin D deficiency in US adults. Nutr Res. 2011 Jan;31(1):48­54. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2010.12.001. PMID: 21310306.
  3. MF Holick. Sunlight and vitamin D for bone health and prevention of autoimmune diseases, cancers, cardiovascular disease. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004 Dec;80(6 Suppl):1678S­88S.PMID: 15585788.
  4. U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health. 25-hydroxy vitamin D test. Medline Plus. Fact sheet.

†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Global Healing Center does not dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness. The views and nutritional advice expressed by Global Healing Center are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.

  • shay

    Nowadays, when you go to work before sunrise, and back home after sunset, it is almost impossible to get enough or any sunlight at all.. supplementation is the only way to go, unless you work at the beach catching sunlight all day

  • Wanda

    I take 10000 IU a day. Of course, at that level it is necessary to monitor periodically. That dose has has greatly helped me with my Rheumatoid Arthritis.

  • Wanda Lene Watts Whitehead

    I have just started Vitamin D in the past month. I am taking it weekly in a very large dose and after this next month it will be every 2 weeks for a while then go down to every day. I have not felt any improvement at all in my energy, depression (it is actually worse), I have lost a couple pounds but that is it. My Vitamin D # was 9! Was told that was critically low. Besides that I am on B12 shots and synthroid for hypothyroidism. Between the 3 I am exhausted. Anyone with any suggestions on how to get my energy back? I need some help!

  • Good questions Wanda. Check out this article, it might provide some ideas:

  • Fawn

    Liquid Iron supplement , powdered Calcium and Magnesium (Calm brand ) might help you Wanda Lene Watts Whitehead.

  • Jennifer Craig

    Hello, I have celiac, lupus, crest, adrenal failure, fibromyalgia and severe allergies. Any more? haha I still have my sense of humor. I refuse to give up. My feet hurt so so bad they burn when my vit d gets low. Nothing I take goes in my body to help because of the celiac. Any ideas?

  • Jennifer Craig

    Wanda I have found that when I get shots of vit D my feet stop hurting

  • Lisa

    I have a metallic taste in mouth. The Dr. Put me on 50,000 units of vitamin D. Will that help the yucky taste go away

  • Kathy Shelly

    I’ve recently been told by my family doctor that I have a vitamin D deficiency and I have a high inflammation level (sedamitation ) is there any connection with the two?

  • Hard to say definitively, so many variables at work in each person. This information though suggests that it’s not impossible:

  • TammenChris Davis

    Be careful I got kidney stones twice when I tool that dosage. Now i. Low again and don’t no whay to take. I was taking 6,000 iu a day and I’m only at 28. I feel my best in the high 70’s

  • TammenChris Davis

    What are the shots?

  • Jennifer Craig

    I have celiac so if I take vitamins they don’t do any good. I have to get Vitamin D shots, and oh my gosh I can tell as soon as I get them. Within a day or over night my feet stop hurting. ——————————————–

  • factsobill

    For those of us who have had skin cancer and are told to stay out of the sun! What to do! Take supplements! Crap, that’s just what killed my mother, more freaking drugs on top of drugs!

  • kathywiehe

    I have osteoarthritis, joint/bone pain in the past few months has been horrible. Arthritis doc just keeps playing around with meds. My primary decided on the vitamin d level check. It came back a five. I am surprised in the lack of foods that have vitamin d in them. Currently started a round of predinozone to help with inflammation and vitamin D 5,000 units once weekly with daily calcium 1,200 mg daily. I hope we are on the right track now. I do not want the burning, swelling and joint pain ever again is possible.

  • steve

    you only need to be in the sun for 15 or so minutes to get the vitamin d. I think you will be ok in the sun for 15 minutes a day?

  • RebeccaGeschke

    A year ago I started getting really sick. I was dizzy, lost my appetite, couldn’t hold food down, could not sleep, I had the most horrible metallic taste in my mouth, was having several panic attacks a day and within 3 weeks lost 72 pounds. I was so scared I was dying so I went to a doctor and he had me blood tested for many different things. It turned out that my vitamin d levels were at 4.2! I thought how could that be I live in Florida! So my doctor immediately put me on a D2 supplement of 100,000 ui and slowly my levels began getting higher and I started feeling better. I am still on the supplement but reduced to 50,000 ui a week. I never realized how important vitamin d is to my body and what could happen if you don’t have enough. I would definitely suggest everyone should have their vitamin d levels tested. There are so many symptoms that this deficiencyc causes and you could be getting treatment for the wrong thing and not know that all it takes to make you better is a great doctor, vitamin d and a good diet.

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