Some people who have a vitamin D deficiency have no immediate symptoms. Those who do have symptoms may experience restless sleep, muscle cramps, general fatigue, joint pain, muscle pain or weakness, inability to concentrate, headaches, constipation or diarrhea, and bladder problems. Here are nine other serious medical conditions that have been linked to a vitamin D deficiency.
- Asthma - Vitamin D supplementation of 1,200 IU daily has been shown to lessen asthma attacks and reduce their severity.
- Depression - Vitamin D deficiencies have been linked to depression and other psychiatric illnesses. Even a woman getting enough D during pregnancy has been shown to lessen the chances that her unborn child will develop mental illness later in life.
- Heart disease - An article published in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research (2) reports that cardiovascular disease is much more common in people deficient in vitamin D. Some children, according to the article, with severe heart failure have also responded well to vitamin D treatment.
- High blood pressure - High blood pressure has been associated with deficiencies in calcium, magnesium, potassium and vitamin D.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis - RA is a devastating disease that causes systemic inflammation, severe pain and joint damage. Studies have shown that vitamin D can ease the pain and stiffness associated with RA.
- Multiple sclerosis - Studies have shown that geography matters when it comes to the odds of getting MS. The farther from the equator you live -- and the less sun exposure you get -- the more likely you are to develop the disease. This suggests a strong link between MS and vitamin D.
- Cancer - Several different kinds of cancer have been linked to D deficiencies, including breast cancer, prostate cancer and colon cancer. The causal link is so strong, in fact, that the Mayo Clinic (3) lists separate recommended dosing levels of the vitamin for both cancer prevention and prostate cancer treatment.
- Periodontal disease - This inflammation of the gums can cause pain, bleeding and tooth loss. Vitamin D helps in the formation of defensins and cathelicidins which, in turn, can lower the number of harmful bacteria in the mouth.
- Diabetes - An article from World's Healthiest Foods (4) lists poor blood-sugar control as a symptom of vitamin D deficiency. This, in turn, can increase the risk of developing diabetes.