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The Top 9 People Most Likely to Suffer From Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D pill on a table

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Vitamin deficiency is what happens when your body lacks certain vitamins to keep your body working at its best. Out of all of the vitamins it needs, though, Vitamin D is a curious one. For starters, Vitamin D is absolutely essential to your overall health. It is what allows your body to absorb calcium and ensure that your bones are healthy.

This essential vitamin keeps your bones strong from the beginning stages of your life, up until old age. Children who lack enough vitamin D are at risk of having soft bones, and adults who do not have sufficient vitamin D in their systems suffer from fragile bones, more commonly known as osteoporosis.

It seems easy enough to get vitamin D, especially if you live in a place that is sunny — sun exposure is one of the greatest ways to give your body the vitamin D it needs.

However, getting the right amount of vitamin D without doing further damage to other parts of your body is tough. You want to expose yourself to no more than 15 minutes of sun, just two or three times a week.

Any more than that, and you are putting yourself at risk of developing skin cancer, as well as premature aging of your skin.

As you can see, it is quite a balancing act to get the vitamin D your body needs. In fact, many people struggle with it — 42% of adults in the United States do not get enough Vitamin D.

So how exactly do you determine if you are vitamin D deficient?

It can be tough to tell, but a blood test is a sure way to know if you are not getting enough of this vital vitamin.

And if you fall into one of the groups below, then you will definitely want to call up your doctor and schedule a blood test.

People Most Likely To Be Vitamin D Deficient

1. Vegans and Vegetarians

One of the main sources of vitamin D aside from the sun is via eating animal products.

But, if you are a vegan or a vegetarian, this obviously poses a problem. Milk and yogurt are filled with vitamin D as well, but those are not options for vegans.

So, what are vegetarians and vegans to do to ensure they are getting the vitamin D they need?

There are other sources of vitamin D out there, though they aren’t quite as potent as meat and eggs. You can find vitamin D in things such as:

  • oatmeal
  • shiitake mushrooms
  • almond milk
  • orange juice
  • cereal

As a vegan or vegetarian, it is wise to keep close track of your vitamin D intake and consider taking supplements if your blood test shows you aren’t getting enough.

2. Those Who Suffer From Depression

Though doctors aren’t sure of the true reason for the connection, studies have found that people who suffer from low levels of vitamin D are twice as likely to suffer from depression.

It is possible that this is due to the fact that serotonin, the hormone in your brain that helps with your mood, rises when people spend more time in bright light and falls when sun exposure decreases.

Thus, if you’re not spending enough time in the sun and your vitamin D levels drop low, your brain is triggered to experience a corresponding drop in mood.

3. People Taking Certain Medication

The side effects of medication are no stranger to anyone who owns a television. The ads for medication that come across our screens bring along with them a whole slew of side effects.

One such side effect is a decrease in your body’s ability to absorb and metabolize vitamin D.

The medications that seem to cause this vitamin deficiency the most are:

  • Drugs that lower cholesterol
  • Drugs for weight-loss
  • Corticosteroid medications

If you’re taking any of the above medications, you likely suffer from vitamin D deficiency.

4. Those Who Suffer From Chronic Headaches

In a 2017 study, it was found that the people who had the lowest vitamin D levels were twice as likely to have chronic headaches.

Though the connection between chronic headaches and vitamin D deficiency are not by any means clear, it is thought that this vitamin may play a major role in fighting inflammation that, left untreated, can cause migraines.

5. Suffers of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

Did you know that up to 70% of people with IBD are lacking the proper amount of vitamin D in their bodies?

This is because inflammatory bowel disease causes your body to struggle immensely with properly absorbing fat. And, since vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, it would make sense that if you have IBD and aren’t able to properly take in fat, then you will be deficient in this vitamin.

Remember that under the category IBD falls a number of gastrointestinal problems such as:

  • Crohn’s disease
  • Celiac
  • Non-celiac gluten sensitivity

6. Those Working a 9-5

Most people who work a 9-5 job in an office are not spending much time in the sun.

Because they’re stuck indoors during most daylight hours, office workers are not able to get the natural vitamin from the sun that they need, and thus are highly likely to be vitamin D deficient.

7. Those Who Are Over 55 Years Old

As people age, they become less mobile. Getting outside seems more difficult, and thus less of an occurrence. However, that means that people who are more elderly are not getting the exposure to the sun they need in order to get their daily vitamin D.

In addition, skin that is aging struggles more with efficiently synthesizing this vitamin, so any vitamins that you’re getting from the sun may not be put to their best use in older adults.

Kidneys also decline in efficiency as people age, and as a result cause older adults to struggle with converting this vitamin into its usable form.

8. People With A BMI of 30 or More

The higher your body mass index (BMI), the harder it is for vitamins to circulate throughout your body, vitamin D in particular.

If you weigh in with a BMI of 30 or more, chances are good that this vitamin is struggling to properly circulate in your body.

You’ll likely need to turn to supplements to help until you’re able to lose some weight and bring your BMI down.

9. Those Suffering From Chronic Joint and Muscle Pain

Feeling constant pain in your joints and muscles may be a result of not having enough vitamin D.

If you’ve been diagnosed with something such as arthritis, look into your vitamin levels to see if you’re getting enough.

For those who are active and find themselves with pain after running or other exercises that last for days, that’s a red flag that you are probably deficient in this vitamin.

Concerned about your vein health?

Medically Reviewed by

Dr. Satish Vayuvegula
Dr. Satish Vayuvegula is the National Medical Director at Vein Clinics of America. Certified by the American Board of Venous & Lymphatic Medicine, Dr. Satish Vayuvegula is recognized as a physician who has met rigorous standards of knowledge and extensive training in phlebology, the diagnosis and treatment of varicose vein disease and related disorders. Dr. Satish also shares his passion and expertise by serving as a board member of the American Vein and Lymphatic Society, the predominant national organization for venous and lymphatic disease.

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