10 Vitamin D Deficiency Symptoms And What You Can Do About Them - Dr. Michael Ruscio, DNM, DC

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10 Vitamin D Deficiency Symptoms And What You Can Do About Them

Fight Off Inflammation and Fear of the Sun For Better Energy, Mood, Immunity, Metabolism, and More

Did you know that excessive fear of the sun might be leading to more than 40% of the population being vitamin D deficient? Overcoming this fear, plus paying attention to the signs of a vitamin D deficiency, can benefit your immunity, mood, energy levels, metabolism, and so much more. Watch the video to learn the 10 signs of a vitamin D deficiency and what you can do about them. 

In This Episode

Intro … 00:08
The 10 signs of vitamin D deficiency … 02:06
How to test for Vitamin D levels … 03:58
Vitamin D and fatigue … 04:55
Vitamin D and mood … 05:19
Vitamin D and autoimmunity … 07:37
To recap … 09:26

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Hi everyone. This is Dr. Michael Ruscio. I just want to make a quick preface that the audio that you’re about to listen to is actually the audio compendium to a video, which has appeared both on our YouTube channel and on our Instagram page for your convenience. We want to always release the audio version of a video here on the podcast. However, it’ll be evident in some videos, more so than others, that the visual aids may be heavily referenced and leaned on. In some cases, having a depiction of a concept can be very helpful in portraying and making comprehendible that concept. So in any case, if you are listening to this and you want the visual aids, please see our YouTube and/or Instagram page so you can have access to those. Okay. And here we go to the audio for today’s video.

➕ Full Podcast Transcript

Intro:

Welcome to Dr. Ruscio radio, providing practical and science-based solutions to feeling your best. To stay up to date on the latest topics, as well as all of our prior episodes, make sure to subscribe in your podcast player. For weekly updates, visit DrRuscio.com. That’s DRRUSCIO.com. The following discussion is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease. Please do not apply any of this information without first speaking with your doctor. Now let’s head to the show.

Dr Ruscio:

Hi everyone. This is Dr. Michael Ruscio. I just want to make a quick preface that the audio that you’re about to listen to is actually the audio compendium to a video, which has appeared both on our YouTube channel and on our Instagram page for your convenience. We want to always release the audio version of a video here on the podcast. However, it’ll be evident in some videos, more so than others, that the visual aids may be heavily referenced and leaned on. In some cases, having a depiction of a concept can be very helpful in portraying and making comprehendible that concept. So in any case, if you are listening to this and you want the visual aids, please see our YouTube and/or Instagram page so you can have access to those. Okay. And here we go to the audio for today’s video.

Dr Ruscio:

Did you know excessive caution and fear regarding the sun might be leading to more than 40% of the population being vitamin deficient? In this video, I’ll list 10 signs that you might be vitamin D deficient and what you can do about it. Hi, this is Dr. Michael Ruscio, and let’s jump in.

Dr Ruscio:

10 signs of vitamin D deficiency include fatigue, depression, autoimmunity, inflammation—really the other side of autoimmunity can be inflammation—eczema, asthma, poor metabolism (including high blood sugar), frequent colds, weak bones, and muscle weakness or muscle pain. And again, how common is vitamin D deficiency? Well the recent well-performed analysis found that 41.6% of the US population might be vitamin D deficient. And why is it so common? Well, as I mentioned a moment ago, fear of the sun, and I think here there’s been some probably not intentional, but mis-messaging specifically from the dermatology community regarding sun. And having this kind of absolutist thinking [of] “avoid the sun [and] wear sunblock” and the real loss of the nuance. And this nuance is something I presented on at the 2018 ancestral health symposium. And it’s important to showcase and to acknowledge that regular non-burning—very important—exposure is health promoting.

Dr Ruscio:

Reason one that vitamin deficiency is so common [is] fear of the sun. Reason two [is] inflammation. A 2014 review paper noted “some authorities now believe that low vitamin D is a consequence of chronic inflammation rather than the cause.” So this might be multifactorial, avoidance of the sun combined with inflammation. And also being obese or overweight. A 2018 study found that a higher body mass index or waist circumference was actually a predictor of vitamin D insufficiency.

Dr Ruscio:

Thankfully to test for vitamin D insufficiency is a simple blood test. And most labs will have a cutoff value of 30. Meaning healthy would be above 30, below 30 would be insufficient or deficient. And ideally you want to be between 40 and 50. And this is taken from a hunter/gatherer analysis to see what do free living humans who are in the sun and not really subject to modern advents of buildings (where obviously you’re obscured from the sun) what do their blood levels look like? And they are between 40 and 50. This runs counter to what some may recommend, meaning having a higher level of vitamin D. And I haven’t found that to be prudent. I think 40 to 50 is a good mark to shoot for. And that’s also what this analysis of free-living hunter/gatherers substantiated.

Dr Ruscio:

And how does vitamin D tie in with fatigue? Well a 2016 randomized control trial found that fatigue improved in 40 children who received vitamin D supplementation. And also in a recent 2021 clinical trial, 19 adults who had sleep apnea saw improvements of their energy and sleep events when supplementing with vitamin D.

Dr Ruscio:

And really interesting here, and probably not too counterintuitive, that vitamin D supplementation can help with mood. Now, you may have heard of what’s known as SAD, or seasonal effective disorder, when people don’t have much sun they get kind of mopy. And no surprise then, a 2021 randomized control trial found that after eight weeks of supplementation with vitamin D plus omega3, there was reduced anxiety, depression, and improved sleep quality. And mechanistically this might be because vitamin D can actually enhance dopamine. A 2019 trial found that vitamin D supplementation in children with ADHD can increase dopamine levels. And vitamin D is also associated with immune function and inflammation. And these are two different sides of the same coin, meaning inflammation and immune function.

Sponsor:

Hey, everyone, in case you are in need of help or would like to learn more, I wanted to quickly point out what resources are available to you. “Healthy Gut, Healthy You,” my book and your complete self-help guide to healing your gut. If you’re not a do-it-yourselfer, there is always the clinic and myself or any one of our doctors would be more than happy to help you. And as a quick aside there, we just had accepted for peer review a six part case series wherein we demonstrated the gut-thyroid connection and how crucially important it is to make sure you are not overlooking someone’s gut health as it pertains to thyroid health and thyroid outcomes more broadly. Through the clinic we also offer health coaching and independent of the clinic, if you are reading the book or need some general advice, we offer health coaching. Also there’s our store where you can find our elemental diet line, our probiotic line, and other health and gut supportive supplements. And finally, there is our clinician’s newsletter, the FFMR (AKA future of functional medicine review) database with research reviews, case studies, and other helpful resources for healthcare providers. Everything for any of these resources can be found at the overview page, DrRuscio.com/resources. That’s DrRuscio.com/resources.

Dr Ruscio:

A 2015 trial in the journal “Lupus” found that vitamin D supplementation seems to enhance the function of what’s known as TReg and TReg is kind of upstream from other downstream immune cells. And so this upstream regulator, as the name suggests T regulatory cells, they help to regulate the function of immune cells downstream. This might be why another trial in the “Clinical Journal of Gastroenterology” in 2021 essentially found that inflammatory markers significantly decreased in the group of individuals who supplemented with vitamin D. [It] could be through that regulation of the T regulator cell upstream. And because inflammation and immune function are tied together, it’s probably no surprise that a very large study in the “New England Journal of Medicine” found that in this group of 25,000 participants ([a] very large trial) who received either vitamin D or placebo were shown to have a 39% lower risk of auto immunity at a five year follow up. It’s pretty shocking.

Dr Ruscio:

And other data—this was a recent meta-analysis, 2021, which is a summary of clinical trials—summarized eight trials. And they found that vitamin D reduced both TPO, or thyroid peroxidase, and TG, thyroglobulin, antibodies in those with Hashimotos thyroiditis. So they reduced essentially Hashimotos or thyroid autoimmunity.

Dr Ruscio:

And there are also some benefits for bone, as you’re probably aware. One study found a 16% reduction in fractures after supplementing with vitamin D plus calcium.

Dr Ruscio:

So to recap, there are many signs of vitamin D deficiency, including fatigue, auto immunity, inflammation (remember these two are related), weak bones, weak muscles, amongst a few others. And vitamin deficiency is fairly common. Over 40% of the population, largely due to this absolutist thinking about sun avoidance and attempts to prevent skin cancer—which requires or should be seriously repudiated—combined with inflammation and overweight. And if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, get a simple vitamin D blood test. Remember not to fear the sun. And if this has been helpful, please like and subscribe and also comment on what your thoughts are regarding vitamin D, your vitamin D levels, and what you’re doing to try to increase your levels of vitamin D.

Dr Ruscio:

This is Dr. Michael Ruscio and I hope that helps.

 

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