Vitamin D is essential for strong bones, muscles and general health and wellbeing. It’s known as the “sunshine vitamin” because our skin uses UV radiation from the sun to produce it. People who are insufficient in vitamin D may have no symptoms at all, or they may be vague and hard to pinpoint. Here are a few warning signs to look out for.
- A general unwell feeling
For many people tiredness, subtle aches and pains and an overall feeling of being unwell are the only symptoms of a vitamin D insufficiency. If you aren’t feeling at your best, speak to your doctor about evaluating your vitamin D levels to rule out this as a possible cause.
- Muscle weakness
Muscle weakness and pain may be a symptom of vitamin D insufficiency in both children and adults. This is usually felt as a sensation of heaviness in the legs, tiring easily and difficulty in climbing stairs or getting up from a chair, for example.
- Blood test results
A blood test provides the most accurate sign of vitamin D status. Your doctor will order a blood test called the 25‐hydroxy vitamin D test and you will need to have a sample of blood drawn. Vitamin D from dietary intake or from where it is made in our skin is then converted in the liver to an active form called 25OHD, this is the form that is measured in a blood test and will determine our vitamin D status. 25OHD is further activated in our kidneys to calcitriol which is the active form of the vitamin that regulates our calcium and phosphorus levels as well as helps to promote heathy bone growth and maintenance. Different laboratories have slightly different normal value ranges, but in general the normal levels should be above 50nmol/L. It is important to speak to your doctor about the meaning of your individual test results.
If you suspect you might be at risk of developing a vitamin D insufficiency you can also take the Ostelin D-Test to assess your risk levels.