Symptoms & Signs of Vitamin D Deficiency

Did You Know? The overall effect of Vitamin D in increasing calcium absorption is essential to bone health and improving the symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency. This is perhaps the best-known function of the vitamin.

Vitamin D is especially known for its functions in improving bone health and facilitating the absorption of phosphorus and calcium, though it has several other important benefits to the health which are often ignored. Studies have repeatedly attempted to show the unbelievably vast array of functions Vitamin D performs in the body, ranging from anti-inflammatory and immunity regulatory roles to its action in decreasing the risk of auto-immune diseases and maintaining a healthy gastrointestinal tract.

Though Vitamin D performs a wide range of functions in the body, as discussed earlier, it has been reported as the most commonly deficient nutrient. The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention stated this fact strongly. In view of this, what are the possible Vitamin D deficiency effects on health?

The effect of low levels of Vitamin D in the body can be far-reaching. While perceptible depletion in the amount of the nutrient in the body can be a major cause of rickets (in children) and osteomalacia (due to vitamin D deficiency in adults), it has been documented in recent research reports that a moderate drop in the level of Vitamin D can be an underlying cause of several other disorders in the body. Examples include asthma, metabolic syndrome, allergies, immunity problems amongst others. Deficiency of Vitamin D has been implicated in certain sleep disorders, brain dysfunction, and gastrointestinal disturbances.Apparently, chronic Vitamin D deficiency can affect your health in many adverse ways, hence the importance of being apprised of the telltale signs that suggest you might be suffering a deficiency. If detected early enough, the deficiency can easily be averted by the mere administering of supplements before the problem gets out of hand.

Signs of Vitamin D deficiency

1. Profound fatigue and chronic body pain

Vitamin D deficiency commonly manifests with signs of pain in different widespread areas in the body. There are research reports which attribute low Vitamin D levels to fatigue and body aches. [1] [2]Below are symptoms that point to a Vitamin D deficiency, and we strongly (and respectfully) suggest to get your Vitamin D levels checked if you notice any of them. So, what are the symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency?

  • Pain and weakness in the muscles.
  • Widespread, general pain in unlocalized areas in the body.
  • Joint pains, aching back (especially the lower back), hips, legs, pelvis, and ribs.
  • Tiredness and weakness (often for no apparent reason).
  • Stress fractures
  • Muscle pain and irritation that lasts long after sessions of exercise.
Ongoing studies have sought to link Vitamin D deficiency too fibromyalgia, a chronic disease condition characterized by symptoms similar to those of Vitamin D deficiency. [3] Research has linked fibromyalgia with people with low D levels, and highlighted the importance of Vitamin D supplements in:

  • Improving the symptoms of chronic widespread pain in the muscles and bone.[4]
  • Managing pain in isolated regions and in situations of menstrual cramps, fibromyalgia, arthritis, and lower back pain, in addition to good sleep therapy. [5]
  • Regulating protein production in the body, which may be a promoting factor for inflammation, helping the body respond accordingly to pain.

2. Falling sick frequently

Vitamin D deficiency is probably the cause of your frequent bouts of illness. It is no odd occurrence since the vitamin plays a major role in maintaining the body's immunity and overall health. The mechanism for regulating the immune reactions of the body is connected to the synthesis of antibodies which are natural proteins found in the body. Some studies have associated Vitamin D with the activation process of these antibodies before they can perform their functions of destroying harmful foreign bodies.

Recent research reveals that administering Vitamin D supplements might:

  • Decrease the susceptibility to seasonal influenza in the winter. [6]
  • Shield from respiratory problems that may complicate the symptoms of asthma. According to a report, this effect was profound among individuals with seriously depleted Vitamin D levels. [7]
  • Lower the severity and occurrence of an asthma crisis, especially if administered with normal asthma medication. [8]

3. Insistent sleep problems

Vitamin D deficiency is believed to be a cause of certain sleep disorders, which research has shown to recede on improving one's levels. [9] [10]. The mechanism by which this deficiency translates to sleep inadequacy is not fully understood. Aching bones and muscles, which result from low levels of Vitamin D, could be a serious cause of sleep loss and tiredness. Due to the function of Vitamin D in decreasing inflammation and pain, it is believed to alleviate sleep troubles and ensure better sleep cycles. Also, reports have proved the presence of receptors for it in the brain, which functions in regulating sleep.

4. Gastrointestinal problems

Constipation and the feeling of being bloated are indicative of low levels of Vitamin D. Studies have revealed that around half of the people experiencing Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) equally suffer from decreased Vitamin D levels.

Although we aren't certain which appears first, the deficiency or the IBS, many experts are of the opinion that it might be either way. On one hand, IBS patients had issues with absorption, which might be a serious cause of Vitamin D deficiency (among other vital elements like iron and magnesium). On the other hand, depleted Vitamin D stores often lead to the occurrence of auto-immune diseases, even Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Evidence exists that proves the effectiveness of improved Vitamin D levels in maintaining good gastrointestinal health, promoting overall wellbeing, and lowering symptoms of IBS. [11] [12] [13].

Attempts to explain this has drawn on the regulatory role of Vitamin D in inflammation and maintenance of immunity, even in the gut. Due to the connection of IBS with minor gut mucosal inflammation and stimulation of immune properties, it is believed that D levels may be helpful. The vitamin maintains a good level of helpful bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract and sets a standard against harmful bacteria, hence its link to gastrointestinal health.

Others Indications and Signs of deficiency:

  • Loss of hair
  • Profuse sweating around the head
  • Irritability and depression
  • Sores and wounds that will not heal
  • Hypertension
  • Erectile dysfunction

Liposomal Vitamin D3 and K2

Some Causes of Vitamin D deficiency

What causes vitamin D deficiency?

  • Excessive application of sunscreen
  • Malabsorption of Vitamin D (in some diseases such as Crohn's and Celiac, intestinal absorption of Vitamin D is dysfunctional)
  • Insufficient exposure to sunlight.
  • Advancing age
  • Obesity
  • Prolonged kidney and liver disorders (The conversion of vitamin D to its active form occurs primarily in the kidney and liver).
  • Geographical location (people who live further far away from the equator are at most risk for Vitamin D deficiency).
  • A darker skin color.

The Effects of Magnesium in Vitamin D deficiency

One major reason why the body may not absorb sufficient amounts of ingested and synthesized Vitamin D is a deficiency in magnesium. The importance of magnesium in the body cannot be overstated. It plays several roles in the body, including blood pressure regulation, calcium level regulation, DNA synthesis, optimizing the activity of the heart, regulating stress levels, and producing energy in form of ATP. In addition to these, magnesium is essential to the absorption and utilization of Vitamin D in the body.

-Magnesium acts as a co-factor in the enzymatic metabolism of Vitamin D

-It plays a major role in converting Vitamin D into Calcitriol in the blood. (Calcitriol is the bioactive form of Vitamin D).

The importance of Magnesium in conjunction with Vitamin D consumption is often overlooked by doctors during diagnosis of a D deficiency. Doctors will often subscribe a high dose of Vitamin D hoping to treat the condition. But if the underlying issue is actually a magnesium deficiency, this method is, at best, futile and might even result in a more serious problem.

As the body requires sufficient amounts of magnesium to utilize Vitamin D properly, it is more harmful to inundate the body with more Vitamin D when the real issue is a deficiency of magnesium. When Vitamin D is still not utilized efficiently by the body, magnesium deficiency becomes more acute. This could result in symptoms similar to those of Vitamin D deficiency, and a circular and dangerous spiral of further prescription of unnecessary supplements.

Vitamin K2 is another nutrient that is essential to the efficient use by the body of Vitamin D, and it is best that you take it together with magnesium to alleviate deficiency problems. Clearly, nutrients are dependent on one another, albeit in an apparent haphazard fashion, to perform their functions. Hence, it is important to combine related nutrients in treating deficiency problems.

The Effect of Vitamin K2 in Vitamin D deficiency

Just as magnesium is important to Vitamin D and calcium functions in the body, Vitamin K2 can't be left out of the picture either. It is essential to the overall health, and specifically to bone health. This is because Vitamin D regulates the amount of calcium in the body.

Vitamin K2 helps in the activation of two proteins in the body, namely:

-Matrix GLA protein which keeps calcium out of soft tissues such as arteries and veins

.-Osteocalcin which fosters calcium utilization in bones.

It is true that Vitamin D helps in the absorption of calcium, but without Vitamin K2 the absorbed calcium will not be utilized properly in the body. This is a cause of many health problems, such as coronary heart disease and osteoporosis.

How to treat Vitamin D deficiency

There is a growing trend of Vitamin D deficiency currently but, thankfully, can be easily tackled by taking the supplements (according to your doctor's prescription), getting enough exposure to sunshine, and by considering the related nutrients (magnesium and Vitamin K2).


  1. Hsiao MY et al. Is Serum Hypovitaminosis D Associated with Chronic Widespread Pain Including Fibromyalgia? A Meta-analysis of Observational Studies. Pain Physician. 2015
  2. McBeth et al. Musculoskeletal pain is associated with very low levels of vitamin D in men: results from the European Male Ageing Study. Ann Rheum Dis. 2010
  3. Makrani et al. Vitamin D and fibromyalgia: a meta-analysis. Korean J Pain. 2017
  4. Yilmaz et al. Efficacy of vitamin D replacement therapy on patients with chronic nonspecific widespread musculoskeletal pain with vitamin D deficiency. International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases. 2016
  5. DL de Oliveira et al. The interfaces between vitamin D, sleep, and pain. Journal of Endocrinology. 2017.
  6. Urashima et al. Randomized trial of vitamin D supplementation to prevent seasonal influenza A in schoolchildren. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010
  7. Martineau et al. Vitamin D supplementation to prevent acute respiratory tract infections: systematic review and meta-analysis of individual participant data. BMJ, 2017
  8. Martineau et al. Vitamin D for the management of asthma. Cochrane Library. 2016.
  9. Majid MS et al. The effect of vitamin D supplements on the score and quality of sleep in 20-50-year-old people with sleep disorders compared with the control group. Nutr Neurosci. 2017.
  10. Jung et al. The relationship between serum vitamin D levels and sleep quality in fixed day indoor field workers in the electronics manufacturing industry in Korea. Ann Occup Environ Med. 2017
  11. An Abbasnezhad et al. Effect of vitamin D on gastrointestinal symptoms and health-related quality of life in irritable bowel syndrome patients: a randomized double-blind clinical trial. Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2016.
  12. Reich KM et al. Vitamin D improves inflammatory bowel disease outcomes: basic science and clinical review. World Journal of Gastroenterology. 2014
  13. Cantorna MT, McDaniel K, Bora S, et al. Vitamin D, immune regulation, the microbiota, and inflammatory bowel disease. Experimental Biology and Medicine 2014.