The only way to know for sure if you’re vitamin D deficient is via blood testing. However, there are some signs and symptoms to be aware of as well. If any of the following apply to you, you should get your vitamin D levels tested sooner rather than later.
1. Excessive Sweating
Excessive sweating (specifically, on your forehead) is a very common symptom of those facing vitamin D deficiency. So if you’re constantly wiping the sweat off your brow (outside of the gym), you might want to look into that blood test I mentioned earlier.
2. Hair Loss
Hair loss is often attributed to stress, which is certainly a common cause. However, when hair loss is severe, it may be the result of a disease or nutrient deficiency. Hair loss in women has been linked to low vitamin D levels, although there is very little research on this so far.
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease characterized by severe hair loss from the head and other parts of the body. It’s associated with rickets, which is a disease that causes soft bones in children due to vitamin D deficiency.
One study in people with alopecia areata showed that lower blood levels tended to be associated with a more severe hair loss.
3. You’re Overweight or Obese (or Have a Higher Muscle Mass)
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble, hormone-like vitamin, which means body fat acts as a “sink” by collecting it. If you’re overweight or obese, you’re therefore likely going to need more vitamin D than a slimmer person — and the same holds true for people with higher body weights due to muscle mass. We have already highlighted this overlooked correlation in “Fitness and Vitamin D: An often-overlooked nutrient”
4. Broken Bones
You stop building bone mass around age 30, and a lack of vitamin D can speed up or worsen osteoporosis symptoms, according to research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Fortification, first introduced around 1930, almost eradicated the weak bone condition rickets, however, “it’s nearly impossible for anyone to satisfy vitamin D needs through diet. It really requires a three-pronged attack: sun exposure, supplements, and food” (Here are “Top 10 Vitamin D-Rich Foods”).
5. Chronic Pain
“It’s often subtle, but some experience aches and pains in the bones, known as osteomalacia”.Those who are diagnosed with arthritis or fibromyalgia may actually be shy of enough D, as a deficiency can cause joints and muscles to ache, too. If your discomfort lasts for several weeks, ask your doctor if a vitamin D deficiency could be the cause—and if your treatment program should include the vitamin.Also worth noting: adequate vitamin D can prevent post-workout pain and increase the speed of muscle recovery, Beggarly adds.
6. A Down-in-the-dumps Mood
A depression diagnosis is often actually linked to a shortage of vitamin D. While the jury is still out about why, the Vitamin D Council says that the mineral may work in the same brain areas—and impact the same hormones, like serotonin—as those that affect mood. (Read more about clinical depression “You may have Clinical Depression”)