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Vitamin D deficiency: symptoms, problems and solutions

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is an important precursor of many physiological processes in the body

From the formation and solidification of bones to skin health, from the assimilation of minerals to the work of the immune system, a deficiency of this vitamin can cause serious problems in the body.

Luckily, it is also very simple to prevent or treat this deficiency.

In this article we see what the symptoms of vitamin D deficiency are and what can be done to solve the problem!

Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency

The symptoms of the deficiency of this substance in the body are divided into two broad categories: osteo-articular ones and psychological ones.

In the first category we find:

  • fragile bones, which tend to become deformed or break even without particularly violent trauma
  • muscle pain, numbness or tingling
  • fasciculations, i.e. small uncontrollable contractions of the muscles, generally not painful
  • joint pain
  • feeling of fatigue even after minimal efforts
  • Unsteady walking, tendency to fall, slip or tire very easily

Psychological symptoms, on the other hand, often concern the so-called brainfog , the feeling of "mental fog" that does not allow you to understand quickly, concentrate for a long time, stay focused on the task, or remember information over time.

In the presence of these symptoms, the doctor could, especially in subjects at risk, suspect a vitamin D deficiency. The diagnosis is very simple: a routine blood test is enough to calculate the quantity of circulating vitamin and understand if it is sufficient to support all the functions of the body.

Vitamin D

What to do when deficiency is diagnosed: sun exposure and diet

If the doctor diagnoses a vitamin D deficiency following the medical history and blood tests, he will undoubtedly prescribe two actions: correcting the diet and sun exposure.

Let's start with diet.

Foods rich in vitamin D

Foods with vitamin D can enrich your diet rather quickly.

The most important sources of this substance are:

  • fatty fish, such as herring, salmon, tuna and mackerel, both fresh and preserved
  • cod liver oil: if it is difficult to ingest due to smell or taste, it can be taken in decidedly less aromatic capsules
  • the egg yolk
  • some varieties of mushrooms
  • all soy derivatives, from tofu to tempeh (a south-east Asian preparation based on fermented yellow soybeans) to drinks, including those enriched with vitamin D or "fortified"

For animal sources we can note that these are foods rich in fat: for this reason their intake should be well balanced, or if you have to follow a very stringent low-calorie diet, it is possible to introduce this substance into the body through supplements.

Exposure to the sun

It is no coincidence that housebound or bedridden elderly people and people living in remote countries with low sun exposure suffer from vitamin D deficiency more often than other people: in fact, it is exposure to the sun that synthesizes this substance in the skin.

Moderate daily exposure, even for a few minutes, allows the skin to work in the best way to concentrate vitamin D and make it available for the target organs (bones, skin, liver, intestine).

Therefore, the second suggestion that the doctor will make to those suffering from a deficiency is to spend more time outdoors, even for a few minutes a day.

In fact, we are not talking about more than 15/20 minutes a day during the cool seasons (winter, spring and autumn), even in the central hours of the day, and 10/15 minutes in the morning or sunset hours in summer. In this case the balance is more delicate: it is necessary to expose yourself to the sun, but not so much as to risk redness and sunburn which can damage the skin and the DNA of the cells, with the effects that we all know well.

Those who live in areas with little sunshine could benefit from short sessions of tanning lamps to make up for the lack of ultraviolet rays. Also in this case it is necessary to protect the eyes and the most sensitive areas of the skin and limit exposure over time.

Food integration

There are many alternatives on the market for integrating vitamin D by taking supplements. Tablets, sachets, syrups: the formulations can vary in dosage and type of intake, to be truly convenient for every person. Vitamin D is also contained in many pre-dosed multivitamin supplements.

In this case, there are three rules to keep in mind:

  1. do not take more than the amount recommended by your doctor: vitamin D that accumulates in excess in the body can produce negative and dangerous effects. The symptoms to watch out for, which could be indicators of intoxication also called hypervitaminosis, are diarrhea, vomiting, electrolyte imbalances in the blood and urine, renal or liver failure. This also includes not continuing vitamin D therapy after resolution of the deficiency state
  2. carry out periodic monitoring of the level of vitamin D in the blood, to know how to balance supplements, sun exposure and nutrition
  3. always agree with your doctor on the intake of vitamin D, especially if in conjunction with the use of other drugs: some can in fact give enhanced or de-enhanced effects, on the contrary, as the availability of the vitamin in the blood varies

We would also like to remind you that in the event of proven deficiencies it is possible to request financial support for the purchase of supplements: you can read here which categories are exempt from payment by the National Health System.


  • Brainfog or cognitive fog:
  • Effects on bones of vitamin D deficiency in adults and children: -vitamin-d#:~:text=L%27inadequate%20exposure%20to%20light,and%20probably%20contributing%20to%27osteoporosis.
  • Sun exposure, sun protection and vitamin D:,ma%20gioca%20anche%20un%20ruolo
  • Note 96, exemption from payment of vitamin D supplements for specific subjects: -quick-interpretative-guide/#:~:text=the%20subjects%20in%20who%20la,located%2C%20frequent%20unmotivated%20falls).

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