Fatigue and Muscle Weakness From a Vitamin D Deficiency

Fatigue and Muscle Weakness From a Vitamin D Deficiency

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Jun 19, 2011 | By Pam Murphy

Pam Murphy has been writing fitness, childcare and business-related articles since 2009. She is an active member of the National Association for Family Child Care and contributes to various websites. Murphy is a licensed childcare professional and holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of West Georgia.

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Vitamin D is fat-soluble, meaning that it relies on dietary fat to assist in its absorption. Vitamin D in turn assists with calcium absorption, making it an essential component in healthy bone development. While dietary sources of vitamin D are limited, exposure to the sun for 10 to 15 minutes three times weekly helps ensure adequate intake. If you don’t get enough vitamin D through your diet, sun exposure and dietary supplements, you may experience signs of deficiency in your bones and muscles.

Symptoms

Muscle aches and weakness, as well as bone pain, may be caused by vitamin D deficiency, according to Merck. However, during the early stages of vitamin D deficiency, symptoms may be subtle and difficult to detect. Ongoing vitamin D deficiency can lead to rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults. Signs of rickets in children include growth delay; pain in the spine, pelvis and legs; weak muscles; bowed legs and other skeletal abnormalities. Osteomalacia symptoms include pain or dull aching in the ribs, spine, hips, legs or pelvis, muscle weakness, impaired mobility and a loss of muscle tone, explains the Mayo Clinic.

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Who’s at Risk?

While vitamin D deficiency can affect anyone with restricted sun exposure and limited sources of dietary vitamin D, the elderly and obese are generally at higher risk, as are individuals who have undergone gastric bypass surgery. Conditions such as Crohn’s disease, cystic fibrosis and liver disease that interfere with the body’s ability to absorb dietary fat are also at increased risk for deficiency, since vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin. Individuals with dark skin and babies who are exclusively breastfed may also be at increased risk, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements.

Vitamin D Sources

Dietary sources of vitamin D include salmon, tuna, eggs and fortified foods such as milk, breakfast cereal, margarine, orange juice and yogurt. The recommended dietary allowance for vitamin D for children and for adults up to age 70 is 600 IU–the equivalent of 15mcg–daily. After age 70, the recommendation increases to 800 IU, or 20mcg, daily.

Considerations

If you experience muscle fatigue, bone pain or otherwise suspect a vitamin D deficiency, talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment. While supplements may help you get your intake up to healthy levels, too much vitamin D may be dangerous. Anorexia, irregular heartbeat or rhythm, excessive urination and unexplained weight loss are possible indications of vitamin D toxicity, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements. Because of the relationship between vitamin D and calcium absorption, excess vitamin D may also lead to unhealthy levels of calcium, potentially causing damage to your heart, kidneys or blood vessels.

References

Article reviewed by Lisa Michael Last updated on: Jun 19, 2011
Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/474357-fatigue-and-muscle-weakness-from-a-vitamin-d-deficiency/#ixzz2HmEe8tm4

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