Throbbing pains in the back or knees could be signs of vitamin D deficiency.
Aching bones are linked to vitamin D deficiency because it is vital to bone health.
Other possible signs of vitamin D deficiency include depression, feeling sleepy and a lack of energy.
Some studies estimate that up to 70 percent of people could have a vitamin D deficiency.
Much of the body’s vitamin D is produced in response to sunlight on the skin.
That is why levels are typically lower in the body through the winter months in northern latitudes.
Getting outside for a 20-minute walk a few times a week can be enough for the body to produce the required amounts of vitamin D.
Some of the best dietary sources of vitamin D are eggs, oily fish and mushrooms.
One study of postmenopausal women found very high levels of vitamin D deficiency.
The study’s authors recommend that:
“A healthy lifestyle should include exposure to the sun for 15 minutes three to four times per week when the weather permits since 90% of vitamin D is synthesized upon the skin having contact with sunlight.”
Many health problems could be linked to vitamin D deficiency, said Dr Faustino Pérez-López, the study’s first author:
“We believe that many diseases can be aggravated by a chronic deficiency of vitamin D.
Healthcare professionals should be aware that this is a common problem which affects a large part of the population in Europe, even those who live in sunny places.”
Vitamin D supports the mineral density of bones and aids neuromuscular function as well as reducing the risk of fracture.
Other disease linked to vitamin D deficiency include cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer.
The study was published in the journal Maturitas (Pérez-López et al., 2012).