A Muscular Sign of Vitamin D Deficiency

Around half the world’s population is deficient in vitamin D.

Around half the world’s population is deficient in vitamin D.

Tiredness and weak muscles can be a sign of vitamin D deficiency, research finds.

As a result, people with low levels of vitamin D are at double the risk of mobility issues with age, scientists have found.

Other signs of vitamin D deficiency include poor sleep, symptoms of depression and headaches.

The vitamin is thought to play a role in regulating serotonin, a neurotransmitter important for mood.

Around half the world’s population is deficient in vitamin D.

The conclusions about mobility issues come from a study including 2,099 people aged 70-79 whose vitamin D levels were measured.

Dr Denise Houston, the study’s first author, explained the results:

“We observed about a 30 percent increased risk of mobility limitations for those older adults who had low levels of vitamin D, and almost a two-fold higher risk of mobility disability.”

Vitamin D is vital for muscle function and low levels have been linked to diseases including high blood pressure, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Dr Houston said:

“Higher amounts of vitamin D may be needed for the preservation of muscle strength and physical function as well as other health conditions.

However, clinical trials are needed to determine whether increasing vitamin D levels through diet or supplements has an effect on physical function.”

Vitamin D is critical to the functioning of the whole body.

From October to March many people in northern climes do not get enough vitamin D.

Vitamin D is found in oily fish, egg yolks, fortified cereals and some margarine spreads.

Most people need around 10 micrograms per day, which can also be obtained from supplements.

Vitamin D supports the mineral density of bones and aids neuromuscular function as well as reducing the risk of fracture.

The study was published in The Journals of Gerontology: Series A (Houston et al., 2012).

Author: Dr Jeremy Dean

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.

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