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.
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was published in the journal Maturitas (Pérez-López et al., 2012).