12 Common Diseases Caused by Vitamin D Deficiency

12 Common Diseases Caused by Vitamin D Deficiency
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Vitamin D deficiency is more common than you may think. In fact, it is so common that The American Journal of Clinical NutritionIt called it a world wide problem which is recognized as a pandemic.  Also a survey in the UK showed that more than half of adults in the UK did not have enough vitamin D, and in the winter and spring about 1 in 6 people have a severe deficiency.

What is vitamin D

Vitamin D is important for a good overall health and plays an important role in making sure our muscles, heart, lungs and brain function well. Our body can make its own vitamin D from sunlight. You can also get vitamin D from supplements, and a very small amount comes from a few foods you eat, such as some fish, fish liver oils, egg yolks and in fortified dairy, cereals and grain products.

What makes vitamin D unique compared to other vitamins is that your body can make its own vitamin D when you expose your skin to sunlight, whereas you need to get other vitamins from the foods you eat.

How long should you spend in the sun to get enough vitamin D?

Finding out how long to stay in the sun in order to produce enough amounts of vitamin D can be very tricky and is different for every person, hence there isn’t one recommendation for everyone. The reason for that is that the amount of time you need to spend in the sun for your skin to make enough vitamin D depends on a number of factors, such as how dark your skin is or how easily you get sunburnt, the thickness of the ozone layer, the time of the year and what time of day it is.

It is believed that short daily period of sun exposure without sunscreen (about 10-15 minutes for lighter-skinned people) during the summer months is enough for most people to make enough vitamin D. Evidence suggests that the most effective time of day for vitamin D production is between 11am and 3pm. The larger the area of skin that is exposed to sunlight, the more chance there is of making enough vitamin D before you start to burn.

Common causes for lack of vitamin D

  • Limited exposure to sunlight – Some of us live in northern latitudes, wear long clothes, or have a job that is taken place mostly indoors. Also sunscreen inhibits vitamin D production.
  • Dark skin – People with dark skin have higher levels of melanin, and this pigment reduces the skin’s ability to make vitamin D when exposed to sunlight.
  • Kidney and liver function – These organs play an important role in converting vitamin D to its active form, so kidney or liver diseases can reduce the ability of these organs to create biologically active form of vitamin D in the body.
  • Strict vegetarian diet – Food sources that contain vitamin D are mostly animal-based, such as fish and fish oils, egg yolks, cheese, fortified milk and beef liver.
  • Digestive problems – Certain medical conditions, such as Crohn’s disease, cystic fibrosis, and celiac disease can reduce the ability of the intestines to absorb vitamin D from food.
  • Obesity – Obesity may cause low vitamin D levels. Research suggests that vitamin D may become ‘trapped’ inside fat tissue so less of it is available in our blood circulation.

Vitamin D Deficiency Related Diseases & Conditions

Maintaining proper vitamin D levels is one of the 70 habits featured in my e-book 70 Powerful Habits For A Great Health which will guide you how to take positive steps to improve your wellness and overall health. Researchers are still working to fully understand how vitamin D works within our body and how it affects our overall health, but it is believed to be a link between vitamin D deficiency to quite a number of ailments:

1. Osteoporosis – An adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D are important for maintaining bone density and strength. A lack of vitamin D causes calcium-depleted bone, which further weakens the bones and increases the risk of fractures. You can also read my article about the 4 steps to prevent osteoporosis.

2. Asthma – Vitamin D deficiency is linked to lower lung functions and worse asthma control, especially in children. Vitamin D may improve asthma control by blocking inflammation-causing proteins in the lung, as well as increasing production of another protein which has anti-inflammatory effects. Read the article about natural treatments for asthma, which vitamin D is one of them.

3. Heart health – Vitamin D deficiency may be linked to a higher risk of high blood pressure (hypertension) as well as increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease.

4. Inflammation – It has been found that vitamin D deficiency is associated with inflammation, a negative response of the immune system. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to a number of inflammatory diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and type 1 diabetes.

5. Cholesterol – Vitamin D regulates cholesterol levels in the blood: it has been shown that without adequate sun exposure, vitamin D precursors turn to cholesterol instead of vitamin D.

6. Allergies – Studies show that children who had lower levels of vitamin D are more likely to have multiple food allergies.

7. Influenza – Some studies showed a link between lack of vitamin D and common respiratory infections, and indicate that people with the lowest vitamin D levels report having significantly more cases of cold and flu than those with higher levels.

8. Depression – Vitamin D deficiency is linked to depression: receptors for vitamin D are present on many areas of the brain and are involved in numerous brain processes, making it likely that this vitamin might be associated with depression and that vitamin D supplements might play an important role in treating depression.

9. Type-2 Diabetes – Studies have demonstrated correlations between low vitamin D levels and the development of type 2 diabetes. Different studies provide evidence that vitamin D may contribute to glucose tolerance through its effects on insulin secretion and insulin sensitivity.

10. Oral health – Several recent reports demonstrate a significant association between periodontal health and the intake of vitamin D. Also elderly patients with low vitamin D levels have a higher rate of tooth loss than those with high vitamin D levels.

11. Rheumatoid arthritis – Low vitamin D may play a role in developing rheumatoid arthritis. Studies have found that women who get more vitamin D seem less likely to get rheumatoid arthritis. Also among people who already have rheumatoid arthritis, those with low vitamin D levels tend to have more active symptoms.

12. Cancer – Vitamin D deficiency may be linked to cancer: a certain study indicated that more than 75% of people with a variety of cancers have low levels of vitamin D, and the lowest levels are associated with more advanced cancers. However additional research is required to determine whether higher vitamin D levels are related to lower cancer incidence or death rates.

What to do if you have a vitamin D deficiency?

Talk to your doctor if you’re concerned about the level of vitamin D you get from the sun and your diet. A simple blood test can determine whether or not you have vitamin D deficiency. Your doctor can advise if you need to take a vitamin D supplement. There is no consensus on vitamin D levels required for optimal health, and it differs depending on age and health conditions.

Find here more essential nutrients you may be missing from your diet:

5 Essential Nutrients You May Be Missing From Your Diet

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43 Responses to 12 Common Diseases Caused by Vitamin D Deficiency

  1. Garza a begum says:

    Thanks for for nice information

  2. Vincent says:

    About the sun my doctor said he has rooter who are low on vD.

  3. sheyda says:

    My mom has one kidney, she used to have calcium and vitamin D twice a day, but after a test given by doctor, it seems she had high doses of calcium, so doctor recommended to stop taking any calcium as well as vitamin plus milk and….So, now after some months of without having any dairies, her finger get tighten and sometimes she faces problem in sleeping. what she should do? please do recommend us. Thanks, sheyda

    • Jenny says:

      Hi Sheyda, I guess there is a need to do a periodical blood test to check the levels of these substances as it’s been several months since your mother stopped taking them. This is something that the doctor needs to know about, as he/she may need to adjust the amount of these supplements again. As a side note, to help with a better sleep, you can have a look at my article about the best herbs for insomnia – http://www.healthyandnaturalworld.com/the-best-herbs-for-insomnia/

    • Astra says:

      its very important to take vitamin K2 if you take calcium because otherwise Calcium build-up in the arteries around the heart and it is a huge risk factor for heart disease .For this reason, anything that can reduce this accumulation of calcium may help prevent heart disease.This is where vitamin K2 is believed to help, by helping to prevent calcium from being deposited in the arteries. I take vit K2 bit.ly/vitamk2 by natures way there.

    • Sarel van der Merwe says:

      She must be tested immediately for Parathyroidism which causes too high Ca levels in the blood and can seriously damage kidneys. The Parathyroids (4) are located behind the thyroid, are a size of a rice seed and usually just one of them is overactive, Have it removed immediately, especially if she has fatigue related to her situation.

    • H Xavier says:

      Check her parathyroid

  4. Deborah says:

    Very interesting article. My question is, with doctors putting so many people on antidepressants, wouldn’t it make sense to check vitamin D levels first and try that for depression before going straight to the antidepressants?

    • Jenny says:

      Hi Deborah, it’s a tough question because depression can be affected from so many things. For example, lack of omega-3 or vitamin B12 can also contribute to depression and mood disorders as well as hormonal issues, brain chemistry, genetics, personality and more. Many times it can be a combination of several things. This is why when looking on depression, there is a need to look at the whole picture and a more broader view. Probably simple blood tests can detect nutritional deficiencies that need to be addressed, or hormonal issues (that sometimes require further tests).

  5. Lena says:

    I suffered from a almost TOTAL lack of vitamin D. I had extreme problems with my tendons in my arms – (I couldn’t stretch my arms above my head or behind my back without extreme pain), gum problems and had a ganglion cyst erupt on my wrist. After starting liquid vitamin D3 supplement 4000 mg 2x daily …………. the cyst was gone in 3 months and the tendons were healed in 6 ……….. my D level tested at 46. Optimal levels ARE 70 90. I had an intern tell me 2 weeks ago that vitamin D deficiency does not cause much health concern. I think he needs a REAL education !!!

    • Nina says:

      Lena thanks for sharing your medical history first. I too agree people need to be aware what happens in some vitamin d deficient people won’t be the same in all people. I myself been sick for over a month. 3 trips to urgent care and 1 to er all for severe nausea and vomiting. Try going to work and having 2 teenagers on summer break on top of all that. I was extremely fatigued. I finally demanded my primary do a series of blood tests. I am very deficient in vitamin d. I feel I’m very healthy most of the time but this past month was a tough time for me. My advice is get blood tests done that is the main thing I would mainly suggest.

  6. Samina says:

    Very nice article

  7. LINDA says:

    HI I TAKE 50,000 IU CAPS ONE PER WEEK.AND I GET MY BLOOD CHECKEDEVERY COUPLE OF MONTHS. NOW HE SAYS MY LIVER NUMBERS ARE UP. I JUST CANT CUT A BREAK AND I DONT DRINK
    THANKS LINDA

    • Kelly Anderson says:

      Linda, I take the same and my liver enzymes are up too for the first time ever. I’m also a non-drinker and they said stop taking Tylenol which I don’t even take… I’m stumped

    • SNK says:

      The most likely reason your enzymes are up is because your doctor probably prescribed you a D2 vitamin rather than D3. D2 is synthetic and can be very toxic. My doctor did the same thing and I was very disappointed. Read up about D2 vs D3 and you’ll understand. You would not have needed 50,000 iu if it was natural. High doses like that are only given because the synthetic vitamin is not recognized very well by the body and circulates in your system. I hate to say it but most doctors just don’t know enough about vitamins

  8. Robyn says:

    Be careful of how much you take. I was getting overdosed by the doctor and now I have high Calcium Ionized numbers. Be sure to have checked through blood work. I will get the D through foods. If you are a Redhead like me sometimes we don’t absorb Vitamin D from the sun. Make sure you are taking a good supplement and I would never take the 50,000 doses the doctors give as it’s synthetic and those are horrible for you!! I am more into the natural approach for everything! You can heal through herbs and food instead of the pharma drugs that just get you sicker so they get richer.

  9. Pallavi Ramteke says:

    I am 19 yr old.. My BMI is 16..wt 42..ht 5’3″ ..vit D level in my body is <4.2.. Dr. Has given me calcium and vit D supplements.. But it should be 20 or 30+.. What should i do to cure it..?

    • Jenny says:

      Hi Pallavi, I’m afraid I don’t have the knowledge to give you advice in this matter as I am not a doctor. Talk to your doctor about your concerns.

  10. Sidarong sun says:

    During these few years, my hair remain dropping continue sly. These few months my scale have a serious dandruff. Some people told me that low level of vitamins D could cause hair drop, is it right ?

  11. Yoni maron says:

    Multiple Sclerosis. Proper exposure to sunlight is
    A key factor at prevention, healing and reversing damages.
    See: “why is there no MS at the equator?” By
    Jeff T.bowles

  12. It is safe for most people to take 50,000 IU’s once a week or 5000 IU’s daily. The key is to have your D3 levels tested. D3 levels of 65-100 is found to reduce most all major cancer risks by 50%. If your doctor tells you lower levels are acceptable, you need a new doctor.

    • Pam Richardson says:

      I have been prescribed 10,000 iu daily for 3 months with a further blood test in 2 months time. I still have pains and stiffness but the dry skin I’ve suffered for years has gone within days of starting the vitamin d supplements. Pains in bones not as bad though.

    • Joan says:

      Insurance doesn’t always allow a new doctor n you have to ask for testing, why isn’t it routine? I believe D3 is helping my sis w S4 breast cancer, my dr won’t run tests because insurance costs n hospital rules in NW ohio

      • Shelley says:

        I used to work aside an endocrinologist. It was not until I left that office that I found that she ran VitD as part of the panel of blood work. My friend had to ask her to run it, and it was 8. YES 8. Doctors are doctors, they would rather push various drugs (that they know little about as well) than to dig into learning something about nutrition and vitamins.

  13. Thanks for the comprehensive information provided in this article about Vitamin-D.

    Even in India though the full sun is available, many people suffer by Vitamin D deficiency because of lack of sun ex-poser due to change in life style and intentional avoiding of sun for skin protection. Moreover, there is lack of or minimum food source available for vitamin D, dietary supplement of Vitamin D is important for healthy living.

    I have experienced the effect of Vitamin D supplement in normalizing high blood pressure.

  14. nazeer says:

    Hi I just three days before checked vitamin D3,it was 15.report showings deficiency in D3.what you advise for me to enhance D3 level

  15. My D3 was 20 and stayed that way for about a year even when taking 2000 IU per day. I finally started taking 5000 IU a day and it finally went up to 50. Not sure how to get it higher than that.

  16. roopa says:

    Im suppering sunburn in hand white paches .im using sunscreen lotion also sucros but same problem continue pls give me solution

    • Jenny says:

      I’m not sure but it might be what is called “sun fungus” (Tinea versicolor). The fungus is not caused by the sun, but arises from exposure to it, because it is in a dormant state in the body. The damage is mainly aesthetic – when we tan, the fungus infected areas become light colored spots, as the sun tans only the skin that is not infected with the fungus. However it’s best to show it to your doctor for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

  17. Janeen U says:

    Always have a Dr do a Blood work done prior to taking anything , especially if you have medication or take as well as other illnesses and Health issues, ~ I Did ,& WoW! I thought I was doing everything right!! I found out that I am Deficient in Vitamin D, Even though I was taking Prescription D from my Dr ,but he also found that I am deficient in B12 Methylcobalamin, & Also Methylfolate ,So he prescribed those as well, and then slowly add Methylated B vitamins and minerals back . I Do know that many people are Defincient in Magnesium, Which Does regulate the Calcium balance intake ,I take Natural calm Magnesium, & Calcium drink mix by .naturalvitality.com that helps my restless leg Syn. ,& relaxes my muscles, to help me sleep at night. I am looking into Red light Therapy at a tanning salon, that helps with a lot of Vit D issues, Chronic pain, promotes Collagen production , It pays to go to a Dr to have your blood work done and discussed with the Dr , you will be happy that you do this <3

  18. Christina says:

    I take 6,000 IU of vitamin D3 daily, as prescribed by my neurologist. She discovered my deficiency when she was testing me for Myasthenia Gravis. She said I need to take it forever. I don’t mind, it is natural and no side effects that I can see. But I can tell a difference if I forget to take it. I have Myasthenia Gravis, I just wish I could find a natural way to treat that … I take 12 pills for breakfast (some look like horse pills) 2 at lunch and 14 in the evening. If I don’t take the medication for Myasthenia Gravis I become so weak I can’t even raise my arms to brush my hair… but when I take the medications I am susceptible to anything that comes around my way. There is no cure for it…. so it is a matter of learning to live with it. Sorry, I know this was about vitamin D3 … just the two are related in my mind.

    • Jbabyncville says:

      I have Myasthenia Gravis as well and Neurologist told me to take 50,000 a week but of D2…couldn’t afford it after a while and insurance didn’t pay for so I started taking D3. In my mind they(Vit D and MG) are related too. My Endocrinologist took me off the Vit D and keeps pressuring me when I admit to taking it still… I notice a HUGE difference when I’m not taking it too. You are not alone…

  19. Elma says:

    just wondering what advice you might have for my husband who has such pain in his feet and he is very weak and nausea so most of the time.Hes waiting for blood work in sept. But if you could give some advice on the pain in. His feet and he isn’t a diabetic…thank you.

    • Jenny says:

      Hi Elma, there can be many causes of pain in the feet, and since I’m not a doctor or a certified health practitioner, I don’t have the knowledge in this area. While the doctor tries to find the cause of the pain and target the root of the problem, your husband can try essential oils to relieve pain and inflammation (see instructions here).

    • Malika says:

      Try soaking feet in hot water with epsom salts…

    • Torrie says:

      I am not a doctor but my Dad was having a lot of pain in his feet then it turned into having some swelling in them. Turned out it was gout. The doctor gave him a prescription of something and told him to take either cherry pills and or drink cherry juice. Pure juice no sugars added. Maybe give that a try, won’t hurt your husband that’s for sure.

  20. Kay says:

    I have heard that you should take Vitamin D, Calcium and Vitamin K to level everything out. What I do not know, what is the ratio of each vitamin. does anyone know?

  21. norma says:

    This is very intresting . I have been LOW deficiency on vitamin D and from what i been reading…… Vitaming D deficiency is the cause of all my problems. Depression.migranes.insomia.cholesterol.hair loss. Fibromyalgia.aches. Ima get out in the Sun more often.

  22. Maureen says:

    I have blood tests done every 3 months because of some meds I am on that can cause problems with my kidneys. I tested low in Vitamin D and B12. I have vitiligo so I can’t be out in the sun like I used to do. I have to be covered. I am not sure what the low amount did to me but it is fine now. I could not absorb vitamin B12 pills so I get a shot every month. As long as I do as I am told I am fine. I used to have high cholesterol (288) I got it down to 140 and now it is 208, BUT my dr. tells me I have high good cholesterol and low bad. She said I had become boring – lol. In this case I am glad I am.

  23. The health effects of low Vit D can be pretty bad. I suffered from low Vit D for years before my Dr. finally figured it out. I started taking 5000 IU of D3 every day and I was finally able to get it in normal range.

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