Vitamins are organic compounds that are critical for regular metabolic function. They cannot be produced in the body, hence need to be consumed. Nevertheless, Vitamin D differs from other vitamins as it is produced by the body via a chemical reaction that takes place when the human skin is exposed to UVB rays from sunlight. Hypovitaminosis D, more widely known as Vitamin D deficiency, has increasingly become a common condition among people of all ages. Older adults have a higher risk of being diagnosed with this condition. Here’s how to tell when you or your loved one has Vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin D deficiency has a strong relation to muscle weakness in aging adults. Generally, those who suffer from it would have difficulty climbing stairs and standing up as they feel a heaviness in their legs. Vitamin D is also critical to keep muscles, teeth, and bones in excellent condition. The pairing of weakened bones and muscles due to Vitamin D deficiency could result in an increased risk of fractures and falls. This could be dangerous for your loved ones.
Changes in Cognitive Function and Mood
Vitamin D keeps your immune function in check and regulates the release of neurotransmitters in the brain responsible for influencing moods. Research has proven that low vitamin D levels may be linked to mental health conditions like schizophrenia, depression, and seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Those who feel sad all the time may actually not have enough Vitamin D in their bodies. Vitamin D deficiency may also be the reason behind the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline.
Vitamin D helps to regulate body weight and appetite as well. Studies have discovered that low levels of vitamin D are linked to obesity, while increased vitamin D levels can help reduce body fat. Vitamin D is also believed to regulate the levels of leptin in your body – another hormone that reduces fat storage and curbs hunger. Signals to the brain get interrupted and the body isn’t aware when it needs to stop eating when a person is deficient in vitamin D. This causes people to gain weight.
Low vitamin D levels also lead to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), where the digestive tract is affected by chronic inflammation. IBD is categorized into two parts: Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Bowel diseases can disrupt the way the intestines take in dietary fat. Furthermore, due to the fact that vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, GI conditions can further worsen nutritional deficiencies.
For the body to function properly, Vitamin D is a very important nutrient that everyone needs to consume. Insufficiencies may lead to chronic health issues. It isn’t helpful either that the combination of symptoms caused by Vitamin D deficiency, such as depression, fatigue, and pain, can easily be regarded as common side effects of aging. If you notice any of the above symptoms in your loved one, be sure to consult a doctor as soon as possible. Recommendation for lifestyle changes and a simple blood test or an over-the-counter vitamin D supplement can help your loved ones recover quicker.