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Vitamin D deficiency in adults has a multitude of signs and symptoms. This is because vitamin D is important to the proper functioning of most of the body’s systems. Signs that might arouse suspicion of vitamin D deficiency include depression, chronic exhaustion, or muscle and joint pain. This particular set of signs would probably prompt a doctor to test vitamin D levels because they might indicate diseases caused by a deficiency, such as rheumatoid arthritis. Other signs of vitamin D deficiency in adults might be low bone density, heart problems, or certain types of cancers.
The body needs vitamin D to use the calcium and phosphorus acquired from food. If an adult does not have enough vitamin D, his body cannot use these elements to maintain good bone health. What results is a loss of the amount of bone matter per square centimeter, a condition called osteoporosis. Although osteoporosis is not always a sign of vitamin D deficiency , vitamin D levels should be tested if other signs are present.
Depression is thought to be associated with vitamin D deficiency in adults. Vitamin D plays a role in the production of brain chemicals that influence mood, including serotonin. Though the evidence is inconclusive, research suggests that a correlation exists between seasonal and major depression and vitamin D deficiency.
Along with other joint related diseases, rheumatoid arthritis is thought to be related to vitamin D deficiency in adults. It is an autoimmune disease, which means that the body is attacking parts of itself as it would attack a virus or disease-causing bacteria. A medical practitioner might order blood tests to determine vitamin D levels if a patient presents with complaints of joint pains in combination with a constant feeling of being tired and other symptoms indicative of rheumatoid arthritis.
Other autoimmune diseases are also related to vitamin D deficiency in adults. Examples include Crohn’s disease, fibromyalgia, and multiple sclerosis. It has been discovered that vitamin D is one of the most important regulators of the immune system. The body converts vitamin D into a chemical capable of keeping the immune system under control. A vitamin D deficiency causes the immune system to produce too many of the body’s inflammatory cells, called cytokines, which in turn attack the body systems as if they were diseases.
Treatment of vitamin D deficiency has a number of components. The body uses sunlight to produce vitamin D, so a healthy amount of sunlight is an important part of treatment. Vitamin D supplements might also help. It is also necessary to eat more foods rich in vitamin D because naturally occurring vitamin D is known to be more potent than that found in many supplements. This combination of treatment can help prevent or lessen the signs of the host of problems associated with vitamin D deficiency.