17 Signs and Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency

17 Signs and Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency

29 June 2023

written by Dr. Filza Swalah, ND

There’s more to vitamin D than just supporting immune and bone health. As more research is done on this essential vitamin, it’s becoming evident that vitamin D is more than meets the eye. Let’s uncover 17 surprising signs and symptoms of its deficiency that may be affecting your health:

  1. Obesity

Being overweight is linked to lower levels of vitamin D.1 Although the link between the two isn’t as clear cut, there are a few theories like fat sequestration. Because vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, the more fat cells there are means the more vitamin D that is stored, ultimately leading to less vitamin D available for the body to use.1

  1. PMS

Not feeling like yourself a few days before your period? PMS is usually the culprit, but you can add low vitamin D levels to the list. Studies show low levels of vitamin D and calcium during the 2nd phase of the menstrual cycle were found to cause or worsen the symptoms of PMS.2

  1. Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

This condition is characterized by chronic inflammation of the gut. As more research is done on this disease, it’s becoming a well-known fact that vitamin D and its immune-supporting properties play an important role in easing IBD.3

  1. Hair loss

Your mane may need some vitamin D as research points to the possibility that can play a role in stress-induced hair loss.4

  1. Insulin resistance

Insulin resistance is a condition characterized by reduced responsiveness of the body's cells to the blood sugar-regulating hormone, insulin, and prequel to type 2 diabetes. As more work is being done to uncover why cells become resistant to insulin, vitamin D deficiency has been found to increase it.5

  1. Eczema

Eczema is a chronic, inflammatory skin condition that can occur anywhere on the body. Moisturizers and anti-inflammatory actions are necessary to keep the skin cool, calm, and collected, but vitamin D supplementation can be added to the list of possible treatments. Since it supports the immune system and the immune system rules inflammation, vitamin D supplementation has shown to be beneficial in children who experience eczema, especially in the winter months.6

  1. Gum disease and tooth loss

This might be a surprise, but vitamin D and oral health go hand in hand. Vitamin D helps with the absorption of calcium, an essential mineral for teeth. Studies show deficiencies in vitamin D are associated with dental cavities.7

  1. Memory loss

If you always forget where you put your keys, your vitamin D levels could be low, since it influences brain health.8 It’s especially important for older individuals to keep their vitamin D levels at optimal levels as a deficiency is linked with accelerated cognitive decline.8

  1. UTIs

It’s a well-known fact that vitamin D is protective of infections and the same goes for those of the urinary tract. One in five women, between the ages of 18-24 years old experience a UTI each year.9 For those women who experience recurrent UTIs, increasing vitamin D levels could help. Studies show that the link between low vitamin D levels and increased UTIs could have something to do with vitamin D’s infection-fighting capabilities.9

  1. Asthma

Asthma, inflammation of the lung’s lining, can be exacerbated by many reasons like pollution, allergies, and even low vitamin D levels. Studies have found that those whose asthma is exacerbated often could be due to low vitamin D levels.10 Although the reason isn’t well established, it’s thought that vitamin D’s immunomodulatory effect has something to do with the association.10

  1. Poor pelvic health

Optimal pelvic floor requires healthy bones, muscles, and nerves, so it makes sense that research is just now starting to find associations between poor pelvic floor health and vitamin D deficiency.11

  1. Mood swings

Winter months are synonymous with low mood, aka the winter blues. And science is just catching up to the reason why – it has to do with vitamin D. Having low levels of vitamin D, which commonly occurs during the winter, is linked with negative emotions like low mood. Studies have found that supplementation not only prevents deficiencies but can also improve these emotions.

  1. Digestive issues

Not only does vitamin D help with gut inflammation (see #3 to learn more) but it also influences the gut microbiome. Studies show that vitamin D influences how gut bacteria function, how much antimicrobial activity occurs in the gut, and how it protects the gut lining.13

  1. Immune impairment

Maybe not a lesser-known fact, but vitamin D influences the immune system greatly. But let’s understand the “how”. Vitamin D receptors are located on specialized immune cells, allowing these cells to create active vitamin D metabolites as needed.14 Being low in this vitamin can increase autoimmunity as well as the risk of infections.14

  1. Excessive sweating

Not only have vitamin D receptors been found on immune cells, researchers have also located them in sweat glands.15 This could explain why research has found that low vitamin D levels are associated with excessive sweating.16

  1. Osteoporosis

One major role of vitamin D is to absorb calcium from the gut, ensuring that it’s ready to be used by bones to remain strong. Low vitamin D levels mean less calcium is available for bone health AND muscle weakness, which leads to weaker bones and an increased risk of falls and fractures.17 Osteoporosis is considered to be a “silent killer” because it can occur over time and most people don’t know until a bone breaks, so it’s important to consider bone-supporting vitamins like vitamin D early on.

  1. Childhood language impairment 

We know how a mom’s vitamin D level can influence a fetus, and research is now starting to understand how it can influence a child’s language development. Researchers found that moms with low levels of vitamin D were more likely to have a child with language impairment.18  Even more reason to take vitamin D during pregnancy!

Vitamin D is a crucial vitamin linked to many areas of health. Check with your doctor to learn about the role supplementing with vitamin D can play on your overall health and well-being.  

Jamieson Vitamin D is here to help you meet all your vitamin D needs!


  1. Vranić, L., Mikolašević, I., & Milić, S. (2019). Vitamin D Deficiency: Consequence or Cause of Obesity?. Medicina (Kaunas, Lithuania)55(9), 541. https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina55090541
  2. Abdi, F., Ozgoli, G., & Rahnemaie, F. S. (2019). A systematic review of the role of vitamin D and calcium in premenstrual syndrome. Obstetrics & gynecology science62(2), 73–86. https://doi.org/10.5468/ogs.2019.62.2.73
  3. Mouli, V. P., & Ananthakrishnan, A. N. (2014). Review article: vitamin D and inflammatory bowel diseases. Alimentary pharmacology & therapeutics39(2), 125–136. https://doi.org/10.1111/apt.12553
  4. Rasheed, H., Mahgoub, D., Hegazy, R., El-Komy, M., Abdel Hay, R., Hamid, M. A., & Hamdy, E. (2013). Serum ferritin and vitamin d in female hair loss: do they play a role?. Skin pharmacology and physiology26(2), 101–107. https://doi.org/10.1159/000346698
  5. Szymczak-Pajor, I., & Śliwińska, A. (2019). Analysis of Association between Vitamin D Deficiency and Insulin Resistance. Nutrients11(4), 794. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11040794
  6. Camargo, C. A., Jr, Ganmaa, D., Sidbury, R., Erdenedelger, K.h, Radnaakhand, N., & Khandsuren, B. (2014). Randomized trial of vitamin D supplementation for winter-related atopic dermatitis in children. The Journal of allergy and clinical immunology134(4), 831–835.e1. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaci.2014.08.002
  7. Zhou, F., Zhou, Y., & Shi, J. (2020). The association between serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels and dental caries in US adults. Oral diseases26(7), 1537–1547. https://doi.org/10.1111/odi.13360
  8. Miller JWHarvey DJBeckett LA, et al. Vitamin D Status and Rates of Cognitive Decline in a Multiethnic Cohort of Older Adults. JAMA Neurol.2015;72(11):1295–1303. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2015.2115
  9. Nseir, W., Taha, M., Nemarny, H., & Mograbi, J. (2013). The association between serum levels of vitamin D and recurrent urinary tract infections in premenopausal women. International journal of infectious diseases : IJID : official publication of the International Society for Infectious Diseases17(12), e1121–e1124. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijid.2013.06.007
  10. Ogeyingbo, O. D., Ahmed, R., Gyawali, M., Venkatesan, N., Bhandari, R., Botleroo, R. A., Kareem, R., & Elshaikh, A. O. (2021). The Relationship Between Vitamin D and Asthma Exacerbation. Cureus13(8), e17279. https://doi.org/10.7759/cureus.17279
  11. Legan, M., Barbič, M., Osredkar, J. et al.Association of vitamin D deficiency and pelvic organ prolapse in postmenopausal women: a cross-sectional study. womens midlife health 8, 9 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40695-022-00078-7
  12. Xie, F., Huang, T., Lou, D., Fu, R., Ni, C., Hong, J., & Ruan, L. (2022). Effect of vitamin D supplementation on the incidence and prognosis of depression: An updated meta-analysis based on randomized controlled trials. Frontiers in public health10, 903547. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2022.903547
  13. Akimbekov, N. S., Digel, I., Sherelkhan, D. K., Lutfor, A. B., & Razzaque, M. S. (2020). Vitamin D and the Host-Gut Microbiome: A Brief Overview. Acta histochemica et cytochemica53(3), 33–42. https://doi.org/10.1267/ahc.20011
  14. Aranow C. (2011). Vitamin D and the immune system. Journal of investigative medicine : the official publication of the American Federation for Clinical Research59(6), 881–886. https://doi.org/10.2310/JIM.0b013e31821b8755
  15. Koike, N., & Stumpf, W. E. (2007). Sweat gland epithelial and myoepithelial cells are vitamin D targets. Experimental dermatology16(2), 94–97. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0625.2006.00513.x
  16. Chen, T., Zhang, Z., Lei, H., Fen, Z., Yuan, Y., Jin, X., Zhou, H., Liu, J., Wang, W., Guo, Q., Li, L., & Shao, J. (2022). The relationship between serum 25-hydroxyvitamin-D level and sweat function in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Journal of endocrinological investigation45(2), 361–368. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40618-021-01651-z
  17. Lips, P., & van Schoor, N. M. (2011). The effect of vitamin D on bone and osteoporosis. Best practice & research. Clinical endocrinology & metabolism25(4), 585–591. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.beem.2011.05.002
  18. Grens, K. (2012, February 15). Kids’ language issues tied to moms’ low vitamin D: Study. Reuters. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-language-vitamins-idUKTRE81E1Y620120215

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