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Signs of Vitamin D Deficiency, and why adding supplements is not enough - MyHealth

Food And Nutrition

Signs of Vitamin D Deficiency, and why adding supplements is not enough


Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Ragiinii Sharma

Written By Srujana Mohanty
on Jun 28, 2022

Last Edit Made By Srujana Mohanty
on Mar 17, 2024

Signs of Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D deficiency is one of the most commonly occurring nutrient deficiencies in India. Approximately 40-90% of the Indians suffer from vitamin D deficiency. The daily requirement of vitamin D can be fulfilled by having a diet rich in vitamin D, sun exposure, and supplements. With changes in the diet and people shifting more towards unhealthy junk food, the vitamin D supplements are often prescribed by the doctors to fulfil your daily needs. But do these vitamin D supplements work just like the natural vitamin D produced by your body? Well, actually not. In this article, let us talk about the various signs and symptoms of vitamin D deficiency that you can observe and why vitamin D supplements are not enough for a better living. vitamin D pills

What are the signs of vitamin D deficiency?

Vitamin D deficiency can be asymptomatic in some people, whereas others may have some symptoms associated with the deficiency. The common signs and symptoms of vitamin D deficiency are summarised below.

Fatigue and muscle weakness

Vitamin D plays an important role in maintaining bone health, therefore, deficiency of vitamin D can lead to weakness in the bone and muscles causing fatigue. In a study conducted in 2014, intake of vitamin D supplements improved fatigue in 174 participants in 5 weeks.

Recurrent illness or infection

Vitamin D is an important nutrient required for the regulation of immune function and inhibiting inflammatory reactions. Thus, vitamin D is essential to support the immune system. Vitamin D also helps in preventing infections of the upper respiratory tract.

Bone and joint pain

Vitamin D is also involved in building bone mass and preventing bone loss. Bone and joint pain is a common indication of vitamin D deficiency and rheumatoid arthritis. The link between vitamin D deficiency and increased development of bone and joint pain was established by a study published in 2012. 


In a review study in 2019, it was found that lower levels of vitamin D can increase your risk of depression. The human brain contains receptors for vitamin D. Vitamin D has a protective anti-inflammatory effect on your brain. Therefore, giving vitamin D supplements to people who are in depression can improve their mental health.


Vitamin D not only facilitates the absorption of calcium in your body but also maintains the strength of the bones. Menopause in females can lead to decrease in bone density thereby increasing the risk of osteoporosis. Therefore, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, adequate vitamin D levels should be maintained in females after menopause. Getting fractures too frequently can be due to vitamin D deficiency. 

Delayed wound healing

Another important sign of vitamin D deficiency is the delayed healing of the wounds. An in vitro study suggests that vitamin D plays an important role in wound healing as it is involved in regulating growth factors and other different compounds responsible for forming new tissues.


Vitamin D deficiency in your bloodstream also increases your chances of getting migraines easily. 

Slow physical development

Since vitamin D affects your bones and muscles, therefore, it plays a crucial role in your growth and development as well. People with vitamin D deficiency can have impaired, slow, or delayed growth and development.

Frequent episodes of catching a cold

Since vitamin D is also involved in the maintenance of your immunity, therefore, vitamin D deficiency can be a probable reason for you to catch colds too often. Vitamin D deficiency weakens your immune system making your body more susceptible to viral infections.

What are the signs of vitamin D deficiency in children?

The deficiency of vitamin D can occur in children as well. Therefore, most infant formula feeds now contain fortified vitamin D as well. Vitamin D deficiency symptoms usually found in children include:

  • Lethargic behaviour
  • Irritation
  • Deformities of the teeth
  • Pain in bones
  • Developmental delay
  • Bone fractures

Why Adding Vitamin D Supplements Is Not Enough?

Vitamin D is very important to maintain bone health. Vitamin D deficiency is very common in people. Therefore, to maintain optimum levels of vitamin D in the body, supplements are also taken by people apart from adequate vitamin D rich diets. However, recent studies have found that vitamin D supplements are not that effective as the advertisements claim them to be. Vitamin D supplements are not enough to deal with the deficiency of vitamin D in your body. This is because vitamin D supplements cannot prevent bone fractures or increase bone mineral density. This was also stated in a research study published by the Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology in october 2018.  Vitamin D supplements have also not shown much effect on reducing the risk of heart attack, cancer, stroke, and any other cardiovascular death. This was evident from the study published by the New England Journal of Medicine in January 2019. However, vitamin D supplements surely reduced the death rate in people suffering from cancer by 25%. Apart from the reduced effect of vitamin D on cancer, stroke, heart attack, and fractures, it was also found that the link established between increased risk of type II diabetes with the decrease in vitamin D levels, is far from what practically occurs. One of the studies published by the New England Journal of Medicine concluded against this established link.  Vitamin D supplements surely help in increasing the levels of vitamin D in your bloodstream, but their effect on different health parameters are far from being realistic. Thus, it is always recommended that you meet your daily vitamin D requirement from food sources. Vitamin D supplements can be taken along with a healthy and balanced diet.


Vitamin D is an important nutrient that helps in proper functioning, growth, and development of your body. Therefore, it is very important to maintain the levels of vitamin D within the optimum range. Now that you know the signs and symptoms of vitamin D, make sure that you get the vitamin D levels tested if you observe these symptoms in yourself. Also, do not depend solely on vitamin D supplements. Take a diet that contains vitamin D rich food to have a healthy life.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • Can vitamin D deficiency lead to future complications?

Yes, vitamin D deficiency can lead to complications like cardiovascular diseases, rickets, and autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis, type I diabetes, Crohn’s disease, and rheumatoid arthritis.

  • Can vitamin D supplements help me meet my daily requirement?

Yes, vitamin D supplements can surely increase the levels of vitamin D in your bloodstream but its effect on other health conditions caused due to vitamin D deficiency are still not fully evaluated.

  • What happens if we take an overdose of vitamin D?

Vitamin D levels above the optimum range can lead to accumulation of calcium in your blood which can further lead to blood vessels, heart, and kidney damage.

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