5 Common Health Issues Due to Low Vitamin D In The Body

by Somya Agrawal

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is essential for various functions within the body. It exists in several forms, but the two most important ones for human health are vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol), obtained from plant sources, and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol), obtained from sunlight and animal sources.

Through this article, let’s explore why vitamin D is crucial for a healthy body and what are the best sources of vitamin D for vegetarians.

Why is Vitamin D important for the body?

Vitamin D is crucial for several reasons:

1) Healthy Bones: One of the most well-known roles of vitamin D is its contribution to bone health. It helps regulate calcium and phosphorus absorption, which are essential minerals for maintaining strong bones. Without sufficient vitamin D, bones can become brittle, weak, and prone to conditions like rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults.

2) Proper Functioning of Muscles: Vitamin D is also important for muscle function. It plays a role in muscle contraction and strength, and inadequate levels of vitamin D can contribute to muscle weakness and pain.

3) Strong Immunity Vitamin D is believed to play a role in supporting the immune system. Research suggests that it may help modulate immune responses, reducing the risk of infections and autoimmune diseases. Some studies have linked low vitamin D levels to an increased susceptibility to respiratory infections, for example.

4) Regulation of Cell Growth & Differentiation: Vitamin D is involved in the regulation of cell growth, proliferation, and differentiation. It may have a role in controlling the growth of certain cells and tissues, which could have implications for preventing certain types of cancer.

5) Mood Regulation: Research studies have found associations between low vitamin D levels and conditions like depression and seasonal affective disorder (SAD). For good mental health and mood regulation, optimal levels of vitamin d is crucial.

6) Heart Health: Vitamin D may also have cardiovascular benefits. Some research suggests that adequate levels of vitamin D may help reduce the risk of hypertension, heart disease, and stroke.

7) Regulation of Insulin Levels: There is some evidence to suggest that vitamin D may play a role in insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism, potentially reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency

1) Bone & Muscle Weakness: Vitamin D plays a crucial role in calcium absorption, which is essential for maintaining strong bones and muscles. Deficiency can lead to weakened bones (osteoporosis) and muscles, resulting in increased risk of fractures and falls.

2) Bone Pain: A deficiency in vitamin D can cause bone pain and tenderness, particularly in the back, legs, ribs, and joints.

3) Fatigue: Individuals with vitamin D deficiency may experience general fatigue and tiredness, even after adequate rest. This fatigue can impact daily activities and overall quality of life.

4) Muscle Aches & Weakness: Weakness and achiness in muscles, especially after physical activity, may occur due to insufficient levels of vitamin D.

5) Mood Changes: Some studies have suggested a link between low vitamin D levels and mood disorders such as depression and anxiety. Individuals with deficiency may experience mood swings, irritability, or feelings of sadness.

6) Hair Loss: Although less common, severe vitamin D deficiency may contribute to hair loss or alopecia.

7) Impaired Wound Healing: Vitamin D plays a role in the immune response and wound healing processes. Deficiency can potentially impair the body’s ability to heal wounds efficiently.

8) Frequent Illnesses: Low levels of vitamin D have been associated with an increased susceptibility to infections, particularly respiratory infections like the common cold and flu.

9) Poor Growth in Children: In children, vitamin D deficiency can lead to delayed growth and development, as well as skeletal deformities such as rickets, characterized by bowed legs or knock knees.

It’s important to note that these symptoms can vary in severity and may also be indicative of other health conditions. If you suspect any of these symptoms, it’s crucial to go for blood tests to measure your vitamin D levels accurately.

5 Health Issues Caused by Vitamin D Deficiency 

Low levels of vitamin D have been associated with various health issues. Here are five of them:

1) Osteoporosis & Bone Problems: Vitamin D deficiency can lead to a decrease in calcium absorption, which is essential for maintaining strong bones. Over time, this can increase the risk of osteoporosis, a condition characterized by weak and brittle bones, making them more susceptible to fractures and breaks.

2) Increased Risk of Falls & Fractures: Weak bones resulting from vitamin D deficiency can contribute to an increased risk of falls and fractures, particularly in older adults. Fractures, especially in the hip, wrist, or spine, can have serious consequences and lead to reduced mobility and independence.

3) Muscle Weakness & Pain: Vitamin D deficiency may cause muscle weakness, aches, and pains. This can impair mobility and physical performance, affecting daily activities and quality of life. In severe cases, it can lead to conditions like myopathy, characterized by muscle weakness and wasting.

4) Immune System Impairment: Vitamin D plays a crucial role in the functioning of the immune system. Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to an increased susceptibility to infections, including respiratory infections like the common cold, flu, and pneumonia. Inadequate vitamin D levels may also impact the body’s ability to mount an effective immune response.

5) Mood Disorders & Depression: There is evidence suggesting a link between low vitamin D levels and mood disorders such as depression and seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Vitamin D receptors are found in areas of the brain involved in mood regulation, and deficiency may contribute to alterations in neurotransmitter function, potentially leading to depressive symptoms.

    Best Vegetarian Sources of Vitamin D

    While most dietary sources of vitamin D are animal-based, there are still some vegetarian sources that can contribute to your vitamin D intake. Here are some of the best vegetarian sources of vitamin D:

    1) Sunlight: Sunlight exposure is one of the most effective ways for the body to produce vitamin D naturally. The skin converts cholesterol into vitamin D when it is exposed to sunshine. Spending about 10-30 minutes in the sun without sunscreen several times a week can help boost your vitamin D levels. However, factors like skin color, geographic location, time of day, and season can affect the amount of vitamin D your skin produces.

    2) Fortified Foods: Many vegetarian foods are fortified with vitamin D to help people meet their daily requirements. Some common fortified foods include:

    Fortified Plant-Based Milk (such as soy, almond, or oat milk)

    – Fortified Orange Juice

    – Fortified Cereals and Breakfast Bars

    – Fortified Tofu

    – Fortified Plant-Based Yogurt

    3) Mushrooms: Some types of mushrooms, particularly wild mushrooms or those exposed to sunlight during growth, naturally contain vitamin D. Shiitake mushrooms are one of the best sources of vitamin D among mushrooms. When exposed to sunlight, mushrooms can synthesize vitamin D just like human skin.

    4) Algae & Seaweed: Certain types of algae and seaweed, such as certain species of seaweed (e.g., laver, kelp) and algae (e.g., chlorella, spirulina), contain vitamin D. However, the amount of vitamin D present in these foods can vary, and they may not be as reliable a source as fortified foods or sunlight exposure.

    While these vegetarian sources of vitamin D can contribute to your intake, it may still be challenging for some individuals to meet their daily vitamin D requirements through diet alone, especially during winter months or in regions with limited sunlight. In such cases, supplementation may be necessary, particularly for those at risk of deficiency. It’s important to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice on meeting your vitamin D needs.


    Vitamin D is both a nutrient and a hormone. It is crucial for maintaining healthy bones, muscles, and immune function, as well as supporting various other physiological processes within the body.

    To maintain optimal health throughout life, it’s important to obtain adequate vitamin D through sunlight exposure, dietary sources, and appropriate supplementation.