9 Signs Of Low Vitamin D (How Many Do You Have?)

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9 Signs Of Low Vitamin D (How Many Do You Have)
9 Signs Of Low Vitamin D (How Many Do You Have) Graphic © healthpowerboost.com. Background photo: Pixabay (PD)

Vitamin D is a workhorse nutrient that plays a critical role in ensuring the proper functioning of the body. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), vitamin D impacts your health—including immunity, bone/teeth strengthening, calcium and phosphorus absorption, and the formation of bones. [1]

Vitamin D is also known as the sunshine vitamin. [2] It is made from cholesterol when you expose your skin to sunlight. It is also found naturally in several foods, i.e., fish liver oils, egg yolks, fish, etc.

Adults require 1500-2000 IU (international units) of vitamin D daily. [3] However, these amounts can’t be obtained via your diet only. It’s no wonder lack of vitamin D is among the worldwide most common nutritional deficiencies. Lack of vitamin D is highly prevalent in people with obesity and older adults. [4]

How Do You Know You Lack Vitamin D?

Vitamin D deficiency, in most people, has no symptoms. [5] And sometimes, these symptoms may occur after several months or years. The following issues are a result of low vitamin D:

1. Getting Sick Or Infected Often

Vitamin D plays a significant role in supporting the immune system. It interacts with cells responsible for addressing infections. To ward off infections responsible for causing illnesses, you need to have adequate levels of it.

Respiratory tract infections, including pneumonia, bronchitis, and colds, are linked to the deficiency of vitamin D. [6] And to help reduce the risk of these infections, a study found that taking up to 4000 IU of vitamin D is essential. [7]

2. Chronic Fatigue And Muscle Weakness

The key to having healthy bones is having sufficient vitamin D. If there are low levels of it, however, it could lead to bone and muscle weakness, eventually leading to fatigue.

A study on 480 older adults linked fatigue symptoms to vitamin D deficiency. [8] Another observational study also found a connection between self-reported fatigue and low vitamin D. [9] Surprisingly, 89% of the female nurses in the study were deficient in this vitamin.

And although there’s more research needed to prove this, a 2014 study found that taking supplementary vitamin D for a couple of weeks significantly improved fatigue. [10]

3. Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a skeletal disorder that causes weakness in bones. It makes them fragile and more likely to break.
Vitamin D plays a huge role in bone metabolism. Taking vitamin D and calcium at the same take is important because it helps your body maximize absorption.

If someone has a fracture, depending on their age and health history, the doctor might test their vitamin D levels. This is because low bone mineral density indicates that your bones lost calcium and other minerals. The National Osteoporosis Foundation says that the estrogen hormone found in women is responsible for protecting their bones. [11] During menopause, it could decrease, causing bone loss. So, vitamin D is crucial for them.

4. Depression

Serum vitamin D levels and clinical depression inversely correlate. There is growing evidence that points to the role of vitamin D in treating depression. Although more research is needed to prove the relationship between the two, vitamin D has been found to help relieve symptoms of depression. People in their late life are more likely to suffer from depression if they lack vitamin D. [12]

5. Back And Bone Pain

Your bone mass and health depend on vitamin D. It improves the body’s absorption of calcium.
If you suffer from bone and back pain, it may indicate low vitamin D levels. A review study found that people with muscle pain, chronic widespread pain, and arthritis were deficient in vitamin D as compared to people without these conditions. [13]

6. Cardiovascular Risk

The receptors in vitamin D have a broad tissue distribution that includes endothelium, cardiomyocytes and vascular smooth muscles. [14] Some research suggests that low vitamin D may affect the cardiovascular system, protecting the heart and combating inflammation. [15]

7. Slow Wound Healing

Vitamin D helps increase the production of the compounds that are important in forming new tissue—part of the wound healing process. A 12-week study involving 60 people ailing from foot ulcers related to diabetes showed that the ones who took vitamin D supplements had improvements in wound healing compared to the placebo group. [16]

8. Muscle Aches

Ruling out the cause of muscle pain is often challenging. However, an older study showed that 71% of chronic pain patients had low vitamin D levels. [17] This means that the potential cause of muscle pain is vitamin D.

9. Hair Loss

Stress, disease, or nutrient deficiency can cause hair loss. In women, hair loss is linked to low vitamin D levels. In one study, researchers found that the higher the vitamin D levels, the less hair loss, and vice versa. [18]


Low vitamin D levels are surprisingly a common issue. However, it may be hard to know if you are deficient or suffering from other conditions posing similar symptoms—they are often nonspecific and subtle.

If you have a couple or all of the above-mentioned symptoms, or if you think you may have low vitamin D, get a blood test from a healthcare professional.


[1] National Institutes of Health (Office of Dietary Supplements): https://ods.od.nih.gov/pdf/factsheets/VitaminD-Consumer.pdf

[2] Chauhan, K., Shahrokhi, M., & Huecker, M. R. (2022). Vitamin D. StatPearls [Internet]: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK441912/

[3] Mayo Clinic: https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/mayo-clinic-q-and-a-how-much-vitamin-d-do-i-need/

[4] Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/obesity/symptoms-causes/syc-20375742

[5] Sizar, O., Khare, S., Goyal, A., Bansal, P., & Givler, A. (2021). Vitamin D deficiency. In StatPearls [Internet]. StatPearls Publishing: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK532266/

[6] Pletz, M. W., Terkamp, C., Schumacher, U., Rohde, G., Schütte, H., Welte, T., & Bals, R. (2014). Vitamin D deficiency in community-acquired pneumonia: low levels of 1, 25 (OH) 2 D are associated with disease severity. Respiratory research, 15(1), 1-8: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24766747/

[7] Rondanelli, M., Miccono, A., Lamburghini, S., Avanzato, I., Riva, A., Allegrini, P., … & Perna, S. (2018). Self-care for common colds: the pivotal role of vitamin D, vitamin C, zinc, and echinacea in three main immune interactive clusters (physical barriers, innate and adaptive immunity) involved during an episode of common colds—practical advice on dosages and on the time to take these nutrients/botanicals in order to prevent or treat common colds. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2018: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5949172/

[8] Pennisi, M., Malaguarnera, G., Di Bartolo, G., Lanza, G., Bella, R., Chisari, E. M., … & Malaguarnera, M. (2019). Decrease in serum vitamin D level of older patients with fatigue. Nutrients, 11(10), 2531: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31635199/

[9] Alavi, N. M., Madani, M., Sadat, Z., Kashani, H. H., & Sharif, M. R. (2016). Fatigue and vitamin D status in Iranian female nurses. Global journal of health science, 8(6), 196: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26755458/

[10] Roy, S., Sherman, A., Monari-Sparks, M. J., Schweiker, O., & Hunter, K. (2014). Correction of low vitamin D improves fatigue: effect of correction of low vitamin D in fatigue study (EViDiF Study). North American journal of medical sciences, 6(8), 396: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4158648/

[11] Bone Health and Osteoporosis Foundation: https://www.bonehealthandosteoporosis.org/preventing-fractures/general-facts/what-women-need-to-know/

[12] Okereke, O. I., & Singh, A. (2016). The role of vitamin D in the prevention of late-life depression. Journal of affective disorders, 198, 1-14: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26998791/

[13] Wu, Z., Malihi, Z., Stewart, A. W., Lawes, C. M., & Scragg, R. (2018). The association between vitamin D concentration and pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Public health nutrition, 21(11), 2022-2037: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29559013/

[14] Wang, T. J., Pencina, M. J., Booth, S. L., Jacques, P. F., Ingelsson, E., Lanier, K., … & Vasan, R. S. (2008). Vitamin D deficiency and risk of cardiovascular disease. Circulation, 117(4), 503-511: https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/circulationaha.107.706127

[15] Alam, U., Asghar, O., & Malik, R. A. (2011). Vitamin D deficiency and cardiovascular disease: the missing link. Diabetes Management, 1(2), 151: https://www.openaccessjournals.com/articles/vitamin-d-deficiency-and-cardiovascular-disease-the-missing-link.pdf

[16] Razzaghi, R., Pourbagheri, H., Momen-Heravi, M., Bahmani, F., Shadi, J., Soleimani, Z., & Asemi, Z. (2017). The effects of vitamin D supplementation on wound healing and metabolic status in patients with diabetic foot ulcer: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Journal of Diabetes and its Complications, 31(4), 766-772: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27363929/

[17] von Känel, R., Müller-Hartmannsgruber, V., Kokinogenis, G., & Egloff, N. (2014). Vitamin D and central hypersensitivity in patients with chronic pain. Pain medicine, 15(9), 1609-1618: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24730754/

[18] Saini, K., & Mysore, V. (2021). Role of vitamin D in hair loss: A short review. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, 20(11), 3407-3414: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34553483/

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