Vitamin D: Sources, Deficiency, Health Benefits & Side Effects

By: Branden Hank | Health And Fitness Vitamin D: Sources, Deficiency, Health Benefits & Side Effects

What Is Vitamin D?

It is a fat-soluble organic compound which is synthesized naturally by the body. Vitamin D is also known as the “sunshine-vitamin” and it exists in more than one form. For instance, some of the essential types of vitamin D are D2 or D3. Vitamin D3 is usually synthesized when the skin is exposed to sunlight while D2 is normally synthesized by plants.

Vitamin D Deficiency

This vitamin is essential for various functions in the body. Low vitamin D could easily result to side effects. Note that every cell in the body has a vitamin D receptor. However, it is not easy for people to notice that they have inadequate vitamin D in their bodies. This is because the symptoms are usually very subtle. Common vitamin D deficiency symptoms include:

Constant Sickness

This is one of the most prominent vitamin D side effects that occur as a result of deficiency. This organic compound is essential in keeping the body healthy and supporting the immune system. It helps to fight bacteria and viruses that cause certain diseases. A vitamin D deficiency can result in sicknesses such as respiratory diseases like pneumonia, bronchitis, common colds, flu, and others. Besides that, patients suffering from chronic lung disorder usually have a deficiency in this vitamin.

Slow Healing of Injuries or Wounds

Vitamin D deficiency causes wounds and injuries to heal slowly.  Studies conducted on patients suggested that those this compound has anti-inflammatories that help to accelerate healing and fight infections. It’s a crucial element in the formation of a new skin.

Hair Loss

One of the most common low vitamin D symptoms is hair loss. According to research studies, most women experience hair loss as a result of nutrient deficiency that’s caused by this vitamin. Alopecia is a type of autoimmune disease that causes severe loss of hair on the head. It’s normally associated with rickets, a disease that’s caused by low vitamin D levels.

Constant Fatigue

An often overlooked cause of fatigue or tiredness is usually vitamin D. However, a deficiency of this substance in the blood can cause a decrease in the levels of energy in the body resulting in fatigue. It’s been observed that those people who were given doses of vitamin D ended up with high energy levels.

Weak Bones

This vitamin enhances the absorption of calcium in the body. It’s known that this mineral helps strengthen the bones. It facilitates proper alignment of the bone structure. Lack of vitamin D leads to reduced absorption of calcium leading to weak bones. A research conducted on a group of older women revealed that most of them constantly experienced back pain as a result of insufficient vitamin D.

Muscle Pains

Vitamin D is a preset receptor that is found in nociceptors nerve cells. These receptors help to sense pain. A study that was conducted on rats established that a deficiency in this substance in the body led to sensitivity ad pain because of increased stimulation of the nociceptors.

Vitamin D Benefits

What is vitamin D good for? Well, this organic compound helps to facilitate multiple functions in the body. It provides a lot of benefits and that is why its deficiency usually results in serious health issues. Some of its benefits include:

Improving the Cardiovascular Health

This compound helps to reduce the likelihood of a person developing heart disease.  It helps to inhibit the buildup of scar tissues which can from around the heart and lead to heart failure.  Overall, it helps to prevent any system blockages around the cardiovascular system.


According to studies, there is an inverse relationship between vitamin D and cancer. Research shows that a deficiency in vitamin D can result in bowel cancer or breast cancer. Reports show that the higher the level of vitamin D in the body, the less the possibility of a person developing cancer.

Healthy Bones

As mentioned above, one of the top vitamin D deficiency symptoms is soft and weak bones. This compound plays a beneficial role in enhancing the uptake of calcium and phosphorous all which are essential for healthy bones. This vitamin helps to moderate the absorption of these minerals, thereby reducing chances of rickets, osteoporosis, and osteomalacia.

Healthy Pregnancy

Expectant mothers who have vitamin D deficiency have high potential of developing pre-eclampsia. This means that they often give birth through cesarean section. Additionally, it also causes pregnant women to develop bacterial vaginosis, a condition that affects the health of the mother and that of the baby.

Lowering the Likelihood of Diabetes

Numerous research studies have established that there is a direct link between this vitamin and diabetes. A high concentration of vitamin D in the blood helps to reduce the possibility of type-2 diabetes. Note that low levels of this organic compound usually affects the body’s glucose tolerance and the secretion of insulin.

Alleviating Chronic Pain

A vitamin D deficiency can result in chronic pain or even enhance its effects. There is an observational evidence that suggests that this vitamin plays an important role in providing pain relief especially when the condition is chronic.


Studies have established that there is a direct link between overweight and low levels of this vitamin in the blood. Different body fats interact differently with this vitamin. One research studies established that those people who have excess or extra belly fat usually have low amounts of vitamin D in their blood system.  Those people who have wider waistlines have higher chances of developing a vitamin D deficiency.

Reduced Chances of Flu

One of the most prominent vitamin D deficiency symptoms is flu and cold. Note that children who are given prescribed doses of this vitamin every day for about four months have reduced chances of contracting the Influenza a virus which causes flu.

Healthy Infants

Low amount of vitamin D in the body especially in children is associated with allergic conditions and childhood diseases such as atopic dermatitis, asthma & eczema. However, this substance has anti-inflammatory benefits which provide asthmatic individuals with support therapy for asthma that is resistant to steroids.

Vitamin D Dosage

Vitamin D is a vital organic compound that should be found in any healthy diet.  Vitamin D dosage is measured in International Unites i.e. IY or Micrograms i.e. mcg.  The recommended daily intake of this substance are as follow:

  • Adults who are over 70 years – 20 mcg or 800 IU
  • Adults – 15 mcg or 600 IU
  • Children between 1 and 18 years – 15 mcg or 600 IU
  • Infants of less than a year – 10 mcg or 400 UI

Vitamin D Overdose

Although vitamin D overdose is very rare, its excess consumption can lead to hypervitaminosis-D which could result in appetite loss, nausea, dry mouth, vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, constipation, and headache. Additionally, it could also lead to hardening and calcification of the blood vessels and bones.

Vitamin D Foods

Although, there is a wide variety of foods high in vitamin D, sun rays are the most common and best source of this compound. Vitamin D rich foods are mainly poultry and fish. Some of the best sources of vitamin D are fatty fish or fish oil. Besides them, other foods which consumers can choose from include:

  • Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel and tuna.
  • Beef liver
  • Eggy yolks
  • cheese
  • cod liver oil
  • swordfish
  • Herring
  • Salmon
  • Skimmed milk
  • Sardines

It’s important to note that an overexposure to sun rays is harmful. Ensure that you always apply a sunscreen when you are outside in order to avoid aging of the skin and also to reduce the chances of developing skin cancer.

Vitamin D Supplement

Apart from vitamin D foods, consumers can also use supplements as sources of vitamin D. the  supplements which are also known as “ sunshine – supplements” are usually rich in vitamin D and they come in a variety of flavors. The top vitamin D supplement include:

Nordic Natural’s Vitamin D3

This is a Non-GMO supplement that is fully natural. According to consumer reviews, this supplement makes them to an improved mental function. Additionally, it helps to increase the level of vitamin D in the body quickly.

Baby Ddrops

It is a supplement that is suitable for babies who are still being breastfed. Ddrops contains just 400 IU for every drop and it has no taste. Ddrop does not have artificial preservatives, coloring or flavors. It can be mixed with food or dropped into the baby’s mouth directly.

Daily D

This is a vegetarian-friendly source of vitamin D. DailyD supplement contains tocopherol and triglycerides from sunflower and coconut oil respectively. A single bottle of DailyD has about 365 drops hence its suitable for a whole year supply.

Final Thoughts

A lot of people may be suffering from a deficiency in vitamin D. However, there are high chances that most of them are not aware of it. Its symptoms are usually not specific and the manner in which they occur is very subtle. A vitamin D deficiency is very easy to solve. All the person has to do is to eat dairy products that are fortified, fatty fish or they can opt to take supplements.