Signs and symptoms of vitamin D deficiency
Vitamin D is essential for strong bones, muscles and general health and well-being. It’s known as the “sunshine vitamin” because our skin uses UV radiation from the sun to produce it. People who are deficient 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 deficiency.2 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.
A vitamin D deficiency can weaken bones and make them more susceptible to hairline fractures. This can cause bones to feel painful when pressure is applied to them, due to tenderness and pain of the unnoticed fracture. Pain is often most obvious in the ribs and shin bones, although it can also occur in the thighs, feet, lower back, hips and pelvis.2
Muscle weakness and pain may be a symptom of vitamin D deficiency in both children and adults.3 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.4
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. 25‐hydroxy vitamin D is converted in the kidneys to an active form of the vitamin that helps control levels of calcium and phosphate in the body. Different laboratories have slightly different normal value ranges, but in general the normal range is between 30 and 74 ng/ml. It is important to speak to your doctor about the meaning of your individual test results.5
If you suspect you might be at risk of developing a vitamin D deficiency you can also take the Ostelin Vitamin D Risk test.