Vitamin D deficiency can develop when a person has little or no exposure to sunlight. From October to early March, the sun is in shorter supply and UV exposure is low, making the development of vitamin D deficiency symptoms more likely. Children from the age of one and adults need 10 micrograms of vitamin D a day, so many people take a vitamin D supplement during these months to make sure they’re getting their daily requirement. But how do you know if you’re deficient in vitamin D?
Three symptoms to note are chest pain, sweating and urinary incontinence.
A symptom of vitamin D deficiency many people may not be aware of is when you press your breastbone.
The breastbone, also known as the sternum, is located in the middle of your chest and ribcage, and if you feel pain when you press it, it could be a sign of a deficiency in vitamin D, says Karen Langston, a spokesperson for the National Association of Nutrition Professionals.
Speaking to Arthritis Foundation she explained: “The biggest concern [of vitamin D deficiency] is osteomalacia, or the softening of the bones.
“In children, it’s called rickets. It also can cause brittle bones, weak muscles.
“Other symptoms are fractures of the hip and pelvis, bone pain and tenderness, tooth decay and hearing loss because the bones in the ear become soft.”
Chronic sweating, particularly on your forehead, is a known indicator that your body is lacking in vitamin D, according to Naturopathic Nutritionist Amy Morris, from Water for Health.
She said: ““This form of sweating is likely to take place when the individual has done very little, often making it an embarrassing situation but one which can be dealt with easily by upping your vitamin D intake.”
Vitamin D deficiency may contribute to pelvic floor disorders, such as urinary and fecal incontinence, according to one study.
“Higher vitamin D levels were associated with decreased risk of any pelvic floor disorder in all women,” said researcher Samuel Badalian of SUNY Update Medical University in Syracuse, New York, and colleagues in Obstetrics & Gynecology.
He added: “Given the increase in the number of patients with pelvic floor disorders, further evaluation of the road of vitamin D is warranted.”
Having urinary incontinence means you pass urine unintentionally, explains the NHS.
How can you avoid vitamin D deficiency?
There are five ways recommended to help you avoid vitamin D deficiency when levels are low, according nutritionist Karen Langston, a spokesperson for the National Association of Nutrition Professionals.