Vitamin D

Vitamin D Deficiency Symptoms, Causes, Diseases and Treatment

Are you getting enough Vitamin D? Despite being known as the “sunshine vitamin,” many people suffer from Vitamin D deficiency. In this condition, the body doesn’t have enough of this essential nutrient. But why is this such a big deal? 

For starters, Vitamin D plays a crucial role in regulating calcium and phosphorus levels in the body, which are essential for strong bones and teeth. Plus, it supports the immune system, muscle function, and brain health.

You might think, “I eat a healthy diet and get plenty of sunlight, so I’m good, right?” Not necessarily. Several factors can contribute to Vitamin D deficiency, such as where you live, your skin color, and certain medical conditions. 

And Vitamin D Deficiency Symptoms can be quite sneaky, ranging from bone pain and muscle weakness to depression and an increased risk of certain cancers.

But don’t worry – if you think you might be Vitamin D deficient, it’s easy to diagnose and treat. A simple blood test can confirm if your levels are low, and supplements or changes to your diet can help bring them back up to where they should be. It’s important to address Vitamin D deficiency promptly to prevent serious health complications.

“Vitamin D deficiency now affects more than 70% population of the world. India alone has more than 700 million people living under the threat of vitamin D deficiency.”

Incidence of Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D deficiency is indiscriminate as it may strike you irrespective of age, gender, race, and geography.

Well mostly indiscriminate, as your age, color, and location do affect how much Vitamin D you are making. 🙂

According to a report, more than 70% of adults (age < 50) in the US and Europe are deficient in vitamin D.

Similarly, even with the abundant availability of sunlight, Vitamin D deficiency is becoming endemic in India, with more than 70% of people falling under the deficiency radar.

CountryPercentage of people with low or insufficient Vitamin D level (<50 nmol/L (<20 ng/mL))
ChildrenAdultsPregnant/Lactating womenElders(age>50)
Britain35%47% (in winter)35%52%

Vitamin D Level Chart

Vitamin D level is a measurement of a metabolite called 25-hydroxyvitamin D (also known as 25(OH)D, a form of vitamin D produced in the liver). There is no standard test method to evaluate vitamin D levels. Levels indicated as normal by one method may be read differently by another.

We recommend following the Vitamin D Council Guidelines.

Vitamin d levels

* Serum concentrations of 25(OH)D are reported in both nanomoles per liter (nmol/L) and nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL).

** 1 nmol/L = 0.4 ng/mL

What is the Normal range of Vitamin D Levels?

While different health agencies set different values, I recommend the values promoted by the Vitamin D Council. The image above shows that 40-80 ng/ml can be considered the normal vitamin D range

REMEMBER: how much vitamin D you need to supplement to reach this level will vary for each person.

For example, let’s say Susie just got tested and has a level of 12, and her husband Joe has levels of 15; as you can see, both are deficient with similar levels of Vitamin D. However, Susie may need to supplement less or more than Joe depending on her body’s needs to reach the healthy level of say 50 ng/ml. There is no way to find this out except by regularly testing your Vitamin D status until you reach your goal.

REMEMBER:  Too much supplementing of synthetic Vitamin D can be toxic! So when supplementing, KEEP TESTING! Of Course, if you opt for Vitamin D via sunshine, you don’t need to worry about too much sunshine. The body knows what to do with too much of that. 🙂

Vitamin D RDA

As per the United States Institute of Medicine, the RDA (recommended dietary allowances) of vitamin D are:

    Age group            RDA (IU/day)
Infants 0–12 months400 (10 μg/day)
1–70 years600 (15 μg/day)
71 + years800 (20 μg/day)
Pregnant/Lactating women600  (15 μg/day)

(Conversion: 1 µg = 40 IU and 0.025 µg = 1 IU)

NOTE: This is not a hard and fast dose. The requirement is so high for many people that these doses may not budge their Vitamin D levels. Then they have to opt for higher doses. Once again, KEEP TESTING when supplementing vitamin D.

How to establish Deficiency with Vitamin D Tests?

Vitamin D deficiency is a growing concern worldwide; hence, in some Western nations, the recommended daily intake has doubled for newborns and kids. To measure the level of vitamin D in the blood, the 25- hydroxyvitamin D test is performed.

As the awareness of vitamin D deficiency is gaining momentum, the demand for Vitamin D tests is also skyrocketing.

The alternative names for vitamin D tests are:

  1. 25-OH vitamin D test,
  2. Calcidiol,
  3. 25-hydroxycholecalciferol test.

Vitamin D Blood Test

The blood test that measures the vitamin D level is called a 25(OH)D blood test or 25- hydroxyvitamin D test. It is a well-known and accurate way to measure your body’s blood level of vitamin D. The result of this test can tell you whether your body is getting too little, excessive, or just the right amount of vitamin D. People usually opt for this test when:

  • They are low in calcium or phosphate.
  • Experience symptoms like bone weakness or pain.
  • Worried about osteoporosis after going through menopause.
  • Have undergone gastric bypass surgery.
  • Have fat malabsorption.
  • Before beginning the drug therapy for osteoporosis.

This test shows how severely you are deficient in vitamin D, as excessive vitamin D is a rarity. After the test result is out, remember these numbers:

  • 50+ indicates a good level of Vitamin D
  • 30-50 means that you are on the lower side of vitamin D. You should spend more time in sunlight. Eating vitamin D-rich foods and supplementing vitamin D might help you.
  • Below 30 means you are deficient, and serious action must be taken to increase those levels! Better you consult with your doctor and ask if higher doses of Vitamin D are required.

I urge each individual to take up this test at least once. The as optimistic assumption that your vitamin D level is in the healthy range may be quite risky.

Vitamin D Test Price in India

In India, it costs around INR 1500, which is a bit higher for socioeconomically underprivileged Indians.

Signs & Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency

The biggest problem with Vitamin D deficiency is that there may be no outward signs or symptoms.

My friend was having bouts of dizziness, with general weakness and pains. She was also depressed and could cry at the slightest provocation. Turns out she had low Vitamin D and many other deficiencies too.

Nobody ever has a single deficiency; it’s usually an array of deficiencies. So if you have Vitamin D deficiency, test more, as there may be more.

Coming back to symptoms, some people observe symptoms that are subtle, while others have no symptoms at all. However, vitamin D deficiency can pose a serious health risk irrespective of visible signs. And don’t expect your doctor to diagnose a Vitamin D deficiency from symptoms. It is best to go for a yearly or 6 monthly checkups of Vitamin D via a blood test.

The list of Signs & Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D deficiency is linked to many critical health ailments, including different types of Cancer (breast cancer, bowel cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, etc.) and coronary heart diseases. Recognizing the early signs can save you from many problems. Here is the list:

Excessive head sweating

This is one of the early clues for a person low in vitamin D. Excessive sweating on the forehead occurs for both newborns and adults. If you are sweating off your head while your activity level remains normal, it’s time to check your D-efficiency.


Many studies have suggested that People with a low vitamin D level are more susceptible to be depressed than those with adequate levels. Vitamin D is responsible for increasing the levels of dopamine and serotonin (feel-good hormones) and is also involved in numerous brain processes. Thus, it plays a vital role as an anti-depression agent.

No conclusive evidence suggests how exactly vitamin D helps cure depression. One of the latest theories suggests that some of the vitamin D receptors are found in the brain area where the development of depression occurs. Hence, vitamin D deficiency is often linked with depression and other mental illnesses.

According to a study, a person with a low vitamin D level is 11 times more susceptible to be depressed than those who have normal or adequate levels.

Weight gain

The actual connection between Vitamin D and weight gain is not known to many. Multiple studies have pointed out that vitamin D significantly affects weight gain. A study by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN) stated, “Women whose blood levels of vitamin D reached healthy levels through supplementation during a diet and exercise program lost more weight than those whose blood levels did not.”

NOTE: Not everybody will lose weight by supplementing Vitamin D. Weight Loss MAY accompany Vitamin D supplementation, but only if you are low in it.

Low immunity

According to NCBI, besides vitamin D’s classic role in bone health, it has also been potent enough to provide immunity against foreign and invasive organisms. It influences over 3000 genes (out of 25000) in your body and enables it to produce more than 200 antimicrobial peptides to fight against a wide range of infections.

Low immunity can be due to many reasons, but the Vitamin D hormone certainly plays its part in boosting the immune system as much as it regulates the expression of genes that influence your immune system to fight and destroy bacteria and viruses.

Joint pain

There can be many reasons for joint pain (arthritis or arthralgia). However, if you are experiencing unexplained joint pain, then you must consult your doctor for vitamin D deficiency. As suggested by many studies, Vitamin D deficiency in the blood may cause pain and weakness in bones and muscles (including joints). It is more prominent in the knee and back area, especially in postmenopausal women and elders.

Unexpected weakness and fatigue

Chronic fatigue is the early warning sign of vitamin D deficiency but is often overlooked as a potential cause. Vitamin D is a critical hormone that helps muscle cells contract to withstand an external force, consequently aids to muscle strength. Hence, low vitamin D levels are always linked to muscle pain and fatigue.

Vitamin D is a critical hormone, and its receptors are present all over the body. 1,25-hydroxyvitamin D (A by-product of vitamin D) contributes to muscle strength. While metabolizing, vitamin D enters the muscle cells and helps them contract (A property of muscle tissue to withstand external force). So, any deficiency will result in weakness in muscles and unexpected fatigue.

In one case, a man who complained of chronic daytime fatigue was found to have a low blood level of vitamin D at 18.4 ng/mL. After undergoing vitamin D supplementation, the man reported having a complete resolution of daytime fatigue.

Vitamin D Deficiency Symptoms in Adults

Once again, excessive sweating from the forehead and noticeable but unexpected weakness are the classic signs of vitamin D deficiency in adults.

Adults with inadequate vitamin D levels are prone to get depressed quickly as Vitamin D aids in increasing the levels of serotonin and dopamine (feel-good neurochemicals) in the brain that keep you happy. Some adults experience subtle joint and muscle aches or bone pains, known as osteomalacia.

Increased blood pressure may also indicate the inadequacy of vitamin D. According to a study; low vitamin D levels are tied to testosterone dip in healthy men.

Vitamin D Deficiency Symptoms in Men

Men with inadequate or low levels of vitamin D are more likely to be

  1. Obese,
  2. Physically inactive
  3. Low in testosterone and
  4. Depressed.
  5. They may experience pain in bone, especially in joints.

According to a study on 2,300 men by researchers from the University of Manchester (UK), People with vitamin D deficiency were more than twice prone to widespread chronic pain than those with a good vitamin D level.

Vitamin D Deficiency Symptoms in Women

The benefits of vitamin D, as proven by tons of research, are quite loud and clear, but the signs indicating you are low in this hormone are quieter. 

The vitamin d3 normal range for female varies depending on age but typically falls between 30-100 ng/mL. The vitamin d3 normal range for males is the same though it may differ slightly based on age. 

Women with a low level of vitamin D may have the following symptoms:

  1. Difficulty in thinking clearly.
  2. Excessive perspiration with normal activity.
  3. Unexplained fatigue
  4. Muscle weakness.
  5. High blood pressure
  6. Sleepiness
  7. Low immunity
  8. Stress fractures
  9. Sadness

Vitamin D Deficiency in Pregnancy

In pregnancy, monitoring the status of vitamin D becomes critical as now; there are two patients to consider. During the latter half of pregnancy, a mother needs an increased vitamin D level, as bone growth and ossification are most prominent during this phase.

The low level of Vitamin D has been linked with many reproductive disorders, including preterm birth, miscarriage, and hypogonadism. Several types of research have indicated that inadequacy of vitamin D in breast milk may exert harmful effects on a newborn, including low birth weight. Vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy may also increase the risk of infections and cesarean section.

According to a study, around 50% of UK adults are deficient in vitamin D, which is linked to osteoporosis, gestational diabetes, and 40% increased preeclampsia risk in pregnant women.

Vitamin D Deficiency in Children

In a couple of years, the number of children deficient in vitamin D has increased by 200%. Vitamin D is crucial for children’s health as it helps absorb sodium and provides children with strong bones and healthy muscles. Vitamin D deficiency can wrack havoc on your child’s health, as a couple of them listed here suggest:

  1. Children who do not get enough vitamin D through breast milk (at birth) are most likely to develop rickets later in childhood.
  2. Lower vitamin D levels can keep the children from reaching their genetically programmed height and peak bone mass.
  3. Maternal vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy may cause low serum calcium in the newborn and generate defective tooth enamel at a later stage.
  4. Some studies also claim that vitamin D-deficient children are more likely to develop Crohn’s disease, type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis later in life.
  5. Vitamin D is vital to the immune system; hence, children with a low vitamin D level are more prone to flu and other infections than those with high levels.

Calcium and Vitamin D Deficiency Symptoms

Calcium and Vitamin D are the two most important nutrients for bone health. We need to get enough of them to build strong, dense bones and keep them healthy as we age.

Vitamin D is crucial for calcium absorption by our body. Though we can get calcium from many food sources, such as dairy products, yogurt, and cheese, we need vitamin D to enable our bodies to absorb it.

Calcium is present throughout our body, and any deficiency severely impacts our health. If you suspect yourself to be low in calcium, just look out for these primary symptoms:

  1. Muscle cramps and muscle aches (especially in thighs and arms) serve as the initial alarm that you are getting low in calcium.
  2. Loss of sleep (or what you may call insomnia) is another sign of calcium deficiency. Sometimes people may fall asleep but will not get satisfaction or deep sleep.
  3. Toothache and decay: You will be surprised to know that 99% of the calcium in our body is stored in teeth and bones. calcium is the main constituent to make our teeth, so any deficiency will affect the teeth adversely and may result in toothache and decay.
  4. Brittle and weak nails indicate calcium deficiency, essential for healthy and strong nails.
  5. Poor bone density is a serious concern of low calcium levels, especially in children. Calcium deficiency in children may lead to muscle aches, easy fractures, spasms, and in the worst case -rickets.
  6. Apart from the above-mentioned main symptoms, people may also suffer from fatigue, late signs of puberty, frequent illness, etc.

As mentioned earlier, calcium needs vitamin D to be absorbed by the human body efficiently. There is no clear pattern for vitamin D deficiency. Most people remain asymptomatic despite low levels.

Causes of Vitamin D Deficiency

Have you ever wondered what causes vitamin D deficiency? Insufficient exposure to sunlight and nutritional deficiency is the major cause of vitamin D deficiency.

Another wide range of factors can also affect vitamin D absorption in your body, such as disorders of the gut and pancreas, liver and kidney diseases, etc.

Your age and skin color will also decide how efficiently your body converts sunlight to vitamin D. People with black skin need more sun exposure than white-skinned people to get adequate vitamin D.

As we age, our kidney’s ability to convert vitamin D to its active form reduces. People with obesity (body mass index of 30 or greater) often have low vitamin D blood levels.

When we talk about vitamin D deficiency due to lack of sun exposure, the surprising factor that has come out of various studies is that even after abundant availability of sunlight around the year, more than 70% of Indians are deficient in vitamin D. Experts attribute it to

  1. Fast-paced and stressed-out lifestyles in India. More and more Indians are working longer hours with little or no time for outdoor activities (leading to sun exposure), and more and more people suffer from vitamin D deficiency.
  2. Increasing sun avoidance among youth to stay fairer and increasing sunscreen usage.
  3. Increasing consumption of vitamin-deficient junk food.
  4. Avoidance of Vitamin D carrying food products.
  5. Vegetarianism among Indians. Vitamin D is primarily found in the flesh of fatty fish (such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel), and fish liver oils are among the best sources. Small amounts of vitamin D are found in beef liver, cheese, and egg yolks.

Common Vitamin D Deficiency Diseases

Vitamin D deficiency has emerged as a major public health problem worldwide. Apart from making for a good healthy bone, Vitamin D has several other roles, including neuromuscular and immune function, cell growth modulation, and inflammation reduction. Many genes encoding proteins are also modulated by vitamin D. Almost every cell in our body has vitamin D receptors; hence, the lack of vitamin D can severely affect our health.

The Complete Vitamin D Deficiency Diseases List

Vitamin D deficiency has become a global epidemic. In India, this phenomenon is rampant as traditional and cultural practices majorly negate the potential benefits of plentiful sunlight throughout the year. Vitamin D deficiency has been shown to play a role in almost every major disease. These include:

  1. Rickets in children,
  2. Inflammation,
  3. Influenza
  4. Osteoporosis and Osteopenia
  5. 17 varieties of Cancer (including breast, prostate, and colon)
  6. Heart disease
  7. High blood pressure
  8. Obesity
  9. Metabolic Syndrome and Diabetes
  10. Autoimmune diseases
  11. Multiple sclerosis
  12. Rheumatoid arthritis
  13. Osteoarthritis
  14. Bursitis
  15. Gout
  16. Infertility and PMS
  17. Parkinson’s Disease
  18. Depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder
  19. Alzheimer’s Disease
  20. Chronic fatigue syndrome
  21. Fibromyalgia
  22. Chronic Pain
  23. Periodontal disease
  24. Psoriasis

Diseases in Detail:

Chronic Kidney Disease

Vitamin D deficiency is very common among people with chronic kidney disease. The kidney and liver convert Vitamin D into its active form, calcitrioliver. Calcitriol is required for the intestines to absorb calcium and phosphorus. Calcium and phosphorus, in turn, are crucial for building healthy bones.

People with chronic kidney disease cannot convert the inactive form of vitamin D (D2 and D3) to its active form (Calcitriol) and hence suffer from weak bones, muscle spasms, stress fractures, rickets, osteomalacia, etc.

Parathyroid Disease and Vitamin D

Parathyroid is a hormone secreted by the parathyroid glands (located in the neck area near the thyroid glands). During kidney failure, parathyroid glands may get the wrong signal of insufficient calcium in the bloodstream. Hence, parathyroid glands generate more Parathyroid hormone (PTH) to compensate for the calcium level in the bloodstream. PTH instructs our body to pull the calcium from the bones and put them into the bloodstream. PTH level sometimes may go out of range while trying to compensate for the calcium level and hence cause secondary hyperparathyroidism. People with secondary hyperparathyroidism may suffer from bone pain, making the bones weak and easily fracturing.

The excess calcium level in the blood may result in reduced blood flow, calcification in the heart (resulting in heart attack), difficulty breathing due to calcification in the lungs, etc.

Vitamin D receptors found in healthy kidney efficiently turns vitamin D into its active form. The active form of vitamin D controls the absorption of calcium and phosphorus (from food), thus maintaining the balance of these minerals in your body. It also helps in maintaining the PTH level in your body. In case of kidney failure, vitamin D is not converted into its active form, which affects the balance of calcium and phosphorus. PTH tries to overcompensate and get out of range. That’s why the PTH level is checked every three months for a person with kidney problems.

Bone diseases caused by Vitamin D deficiency

As we already know, vitamin D is essential for bone health; hence, low vitamin D can surely harm bones. Below are the main bone diseases caused due to vitamin D deficiency:

  1. Rickets
  2. Stress fracture
  3. Osteoarthritis
  4. Osteoporosis
  5. Osteomalacia

Rickets and Vitamin D

Rickets is a childhood skeletal disorder that affects bone development in children. Due to rickets, the bones become soft and weak, which may lead to bone deformities. It is a disease caused by a vitamin D deficiency, calcium, or phosphorus deficiency.

In most cases, rickets occurs due to lacking vitamin D, as our body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium efficiently from the intestines. So even if we intake calcium-rich foods, they will not be absorbed by our body if we are low in vitamins D.There are two types of rickets:

  1. calcipenic (hypocalcemic) – rickets caused by calcium deficiency.
  2. phosphonic (hypophosphatemic)- rickets caused by phosphate deficiency

Rickets in adults is known as osteomalacia (known as soft bones). Some common signs of rickets are:

  • Delayed growth
  • Muscle weakness
  • Pain in the spine, legs, and pelvis
  • delayed formation of teeth
  • short stature and poor weight gain
  • Delayed walking
  • fractures in severe cases
  • Softening of the skull

Rickets causes the growth plates (at the ends of a children’s bones) to become soft, and therefore skeletal deformities occur, such as bowed legs, knock knees, breastbone projection, etc. Children may also have some medical conditions that adversely affect the vitamin D absorption by their bodies, such as Celiac disease, Cystic fibrosis, Kidney problems, Inflammatory bowel disease, etc.

Vitamin D Resistant Rickets

Vitamin D-resistant rickets (scientifically called Hypophosphatemic rickets) is a disorder in which ingestion of vitamin D becomes relatively ineffective. This condition arises due to low serum phosphate levels in the bloodstream. The symptoms usually begin from the first month of life and can range in severity. Skeletal deformities and abnormality of dental enamel are classic signs of Hypophosphatemic rickets.

Hypophosphatemic rickets results from a mutation in the PHEX gene and is often thought to be hereditary. Some genes associated with hereditary hypophosphatemic rickets directly or indirectly regulate a specific protein that reduces phosphate re-absorption by the kidneys into the bloodstream. Mutations affect the function of these genes, resulting in increased protein production (or reduced breakdown). The overactive protein generated due to mutation reduces the kidney’s ability to reabsorb phosphate, leading to the condition’s symptoms.

Vitamin D and Risk of Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease

Various studies and meta-analyses have shown that the fat-soluble hormone vitamin D has many health-promoting effects and the potential to combat many disorders, including non-skeletal ones such as Alzheimer’s Disease (a form of dementia) and other cognitive impairments. Many reports suggest vitamin D deficiency may cause or increase the risk of AD or dementia, as patients with AD and dementia have been found to have low levels of vitamin D in their blood. These all point toward the fact that increased vitamin D intake can be a huge boost for people with cognitive impairments. There is no conclusive evidence, but studies on many AD and dementia patients have stated that vitamin D has a big role in treating these ailments.

Vitamin D Deficiency Diseases in Children

Children, especially those dependent on breast milk, will likely fall under the vitamin D deficiency range. As research data indicates, this phenomenon is rampant and has affected more than 65% of children worldwide. Here is the list of diseases caused due to lack of vitamin D in children:

  • dental deformities
  • impaired growth
  • short stature
  • Skeletal deformities such as rickets.

Vitamin D and Breast Cancer

A new study that was conducted using cell lines and mice indicates an association of vitamin D levels with tumor growth and metastasis in many types of Cancer (including breast cancer). The findings of the study were published on March 2 in Endocrinology. According to the study, breast cancer patients have a low vitamin D level while developing it.

One more research says, calcitriol (the active form of vitamin D) binds to the vitamin D receptors in our body, which regulates many genes. Some of these genes are also associated with cancer cells. Even though it has not been proven scientifically, the significance of vitamin D in preventing Cancer cannot be ignored.

Vitamin D and Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic Cancer is a rare but aggressive disease. As per the hypothesis established by University Medical Centre Utrecht (UMCU), vitamin D concentrations and dietary vitamin D intake are linked with subsequent pancreatic cancer risk. (5)

A certain study claims that worldwide, more than 75% of cancer patients (including patients of pancreatic Cancer) have low levels of vitamin D. The study also suggests that people with the lowest vitamin D levels are more likely to be associated with more advanced cancers. However, the direction of the association between higher vitamin D levels and lower cancer incidence is still unclear and calls for additional scientific research.

Vitamin D and Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is more common in areas with inadequate sun exposure. Data from various research on humans suggest that lower vitamin D levels are associated with more aggressive forms of prostate cancer. The research also states that men with lower vitamin D levels are more prone to death from prostate cancer or have it spread to other body parts.

Hair Loss due to Vitamin D deficiency

Directly or indirectly, Vitamin D has a lot to offer to people suffering from hair loss. Keratinocyte is understood to be critical for the survival of the hair follicle, and Vitamin D plays a vital role in the proliferation of keratinocytes. Thus, it’s very much evident that vitamin D deficiency will harm hair cycling.

In a study on genetic hair loss (androgenetic alopecia), 80 women (suffering from women’s pattern baldness) were found to have low levels of vitamin D and ferritin (a protein that enables cells to store iron). The study also concluded that proper supplementation could benefit people in case of genetic hair loss.

Vitamin D Deficiency Treatment

Surprisingly, among all the nutrient deficiencies, vitamin D is the most underdiagnosed and undertreated worldwide, even after being a widespread phenomenon. Vitamin D is essential for overall good health, strong bones, and the functioning of your muscles, brain, lungs & heart, and it ensures that your body can fight infection. Any deficiency of such an important nutrient should be noticed and treated before it develops into something incurable, posing a serious threat to one’s life.

Vitamin D Deficiency Treatment Guidelines

How to Increase Vitamin D Levels Quickly

Adults should take approx. 600 IU of vitamin D every day, while elder people can take 800 IU daily. Here are the ways to increase the level of vitamin D in the blood:

  1. Embrace the sunlight at least 20-30 twice a week (without sunscreen) and double the time during winter.
  2. Cod liver oil is considered the best oral source of vitamin D.
  3. If you are a non-vegetarian, add vitamin D-rich foods, such as fatty fish (salmon, tuna, shrimp, etc.).
  4. For vegetarians, some kinds of mushrooms (exposed to UV rays) are excellent sources of vitamin D and can spike the vitamin D level very quickly.
  5. As much as possible, try to consume vitamin D-fortified foods (milk, cereals, orange juice).
  6. A good vitamin D supplement can do wonders too.
  7. There are a couple of vitamin D co-factors, such as Magnesium, vitamins A & K, zinc, and boron. All these nutrients help the human body absorb and use vitamin D efficiently. So, you also need to include food sources rich in these nutrients.

Homeopathic Medicine for Vitamin D Deficiency

Apart from natural sources and supplements, some homeopathic treatments could help you increase your vitamin D level. A couple of remedies used in homeopathy to treat vitamin D deficiency are Calc Carb biochemical, Arnica, Calc Phos biochemical, Rhus Tox, and Acid Phos.

Cod Liver Oil Vitamin D Best Source

Cod liver oil is the best-known source among the natural vitamin D sources that can be consumed orally. You will be surprised to know; one tablespoon of cod liver oil provides 1360 IUs (International Units) which is 340% of the daily recommended intake. Next time you fall prey to low vitamin D levels, consider a sip of cod liver oil, as it can boost your vitamin D level in no time.

Sun & the Vitamin D Connection

People who think Vitamin D is called the sunshine vitamin for no reason are the ones fooling themselves for no reason. Almost 95% of the vitamin D that our body needs comes from sunlight. No way you can ignore the importance of the mighty sun; if you do so, God bless you!

According to a report, vitamin D is more prevalent in those regions which are not privileged with enough sunlight around the year. This fact speaks for itself.

How to get Vitamin D from Sun

It’s not a nuclear science to know how to get vitamin D from the sun, is it? You just need to stroll out on a sunny day for 20-30 minutes or more if it’s the winter season, and you are done. No wait! Other factors may hamper the amount of vitamin D, such as sunscreen, cloudy weather, pollution, your skin type, and so on. But why blame the sun for that? He is not the culprit here. As far as the sun is concerned, you got to get out of your house and try to be as less covered as possible, the rest of the factors should be taken separately.

Vitamin D Sun Exposure Chart

Sun Exposure Chart for Different Skin Types and UV Index
Skin TypeUV: 0-2UV: 3-5UV: 6-7UV: 8-10UV: 11+
Always burn, never tan0 minutes10-15 mins5-10 mins2-5 mins1-2 mins
Easily burn, rarely tan0 minutes15-20 mins10-15 mins5-10 mins2-5 mins
occasionaly burn, slowly tan0 minutes20-30 mins15-20 mins10-15 mins5-10 mins
Rarely burn, rapidly tan0 minutes30-40 mins20-30 mins15-20 mins10-15 mins
Never burn, always dark0 minutes40-60 mins30-40 mins20-30 mins15-20 mins

Best time to get Vitamin D from Sun in India

Well, it depends on the season you are talking about. India has many seasons, but let us concentrate on winter and summer. In summer, 9-11 am is the best time to get vitamin D; later on, you may be prone to sunburn; after all, India is hot, right? During winter, the best time to get a sun bath is between 11 am to 3 pm. Usually, evening time is not considered good for getting vitamin D, so avoid doing so. Some people say, irrespective of the season, the time to get vitamin D is when your shadow is the shortest. Well, people are entitled to their opinions. We recommend what we have aforementioned.


1. What happens when your vitamin D is low?

Vitamin D is important for several bodily functions, and not getting enough can cause several health problems. When the body doesn’t get enough vitamin D, it can weaken the bones, make them more likely to break, and cause osteoporosis. A lack of vitamin D can also lead to weak and painful muscles, fatigue, depression, slow wound healing, and a weakened immune system. If a child doesn’t get enough vitamin D, they can get rickets, which changes the shape of their bones. Low vitamin D levels have also been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some types of Cancer. Because of this, getting enough vitamin D through food, exposure to sunlight, or supplements is important. If you think you might have a vitamin D deficiency, you should talk to a doctor or nurse to get tested and treated.

2. Does vitamin D affect sleep?

There is some evidence to suggest that vitamin D may have an impact on sleep quality. Several studies have found a relationship between low vitamin D levels and poor sleep quality. For example, a study of over 3,000 older adults found that those with low vitamin D levels were likelier to report sleep disturbances such as difficulty falling or staying asleep. Another study of middle-aged women found that those with lower vitamin D levels had poorer sleep quality and were more likely to experience daytime sleepiness.

The precise mechanism by which vitamin D affects sleep is not yet fully understood. However, it is known that vitamin D plays a role in regulating the sleep-wake cycle, and it may also affect the production of certain hormones that impact sleep. Additionally, vitamin D deficiency has been linked to an increased risk of certain sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea.
While some evidence suggests that vitamin D may affect sleep, more research is needed to determine the precise relationship between vitamin D and sleep quality. If you are experiencing sleep disturbances, it is advisable to consult a healthcare provider for diagnosis and treatment.

3. Can vitamin D deficiency cause weight gain?

There is some evidence to suggest that vitamin D deficiency may contribute to weight gain and obesity. Several studies have found a correlation between low vitamin D levels and higher body mass index (BMI). Individuals with vitamin D deficiency tend to gain weight more easily than those with adequate vitamin D levels. For example, a study of over 4,600 women found that those with lower vitamin D levels had a higher risk of weight gain over four years.

The exact mechanism by which vitamin D deficiency may lead to weight gain is not yet fully understood. However, some studies suggest that vitamin D may help regulate appetite and metabolism, and its deficiency may disrupt these processes. Vitamin D may also play a role in adiponectin production, a hormone that regulates glucose levels and fat storage.
However, it is important to note that while there appears to be a link between vitamin D deficiency and weight gain, this does not necessarily mean that low vitamin D levels directly cause weight gain. Many factors contribute to weight gain and obesity, and more research is needed to establish a causal relationship between vitamin D deficiency and weight gain.

If you are concerned about your weight or vitamin D levels, it is advisable to consult a healthcare provider for diagnosis and treatment.

4. Why is vitamin D important?

Body. Here are some reasons why vitamin D is important:
Helps maintain bone health: Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, essential for maintaining healthy bones. Without adequate vitamin D, bones can become weak and brittle, increasing the risk of fractures and osteoporosis.
Supports immune function: Vitamin D is essential for a healthy immune system. It helps the body fight off infections and diseases by regulating the activity of immune cells.
Regulates mood: Vitamin D has been linked to mood regulation, and low vitamin D levels have been associated with an increased risk of depression and other mood disorders.
Helps maintain cardiovascular health: Vitamin D has been linked to cardiovascular health, and low vitamin D levels have been associated with an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
Supports brain function: Vitamin D is important for brain health and may affect cognitive function, memory, and learning.

May reduce the risk of certain cancers: Studies have suggested that vitamin D may help reduce the risk of certain cancers, including breast, colon, and prostate.
May help with weight management: Some research has suggested that vitamin D may help with weight management by regulating appetite and metabolism.

5. How sunlight gives vitamin D?

Sunlight exposure is a primary source of vitamin D for most people. When your skin is exposed to ultraviolet B (UVB) rays from sunlight, a type of cholesterol is converted into vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). This vitamin D3 enters the bloodstream and is transported to the liver and kidneys, where it is converted into its active form, calcitriol.

The amount of vitamin D produced through sunlight depends on various factors such as time of day, season, latitude, skin color, and sunscreen use. Generally, the best time for vitamin D production is when the sun is highest in the sky, which varies depending on location and time of year. People living in higher latitudes or areas with less sunlight may have difficulty producing enough vitamin D through sunlight alone, particularly during winter.

6. Is vitamin D good for the skin?

Vitamin D is essential for overall health and well-being, and it may also benefit skin health. Here are some ways in which vitamin D may be beneficial for the skin:

Promotes wound healing: Vitamin D promotes skin cell growth and repair, which may help heal wounds.

Helps treat skin conditions: Some studies suggest vitamin D may help alleviate symptoms of certain skin conditions, such as psoriasis and eczema.

Help protect against skin damage: Vitamin D has been shown to have antioxidant properties, which may help protect against skin damage caused by free radicals and UV radiation.

May help prevent skin aging: Some research suggests that vitamin D may help prevent skin aging by promoting collagen production and reducing oxidative stress.

Can help improve skin hydration: Vitamin D may help improve skin hydration, which can help keep skin looking healthy and youthful.

Author Anupama Singh

I am the founder of Vitsupp and have a bachelors in engineering. My family suffers from every lifestyle disease you can think of. Heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, hypothyroidism . . you name it and some one in my family has it. Trying to save myself and my family from our genetic disposition, I learnt much about nutrition, exercise and lifestyle diseases. Certificate in "Diabetes – The Essential Facts" by University of Copenhagen

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