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Vitamin D Deficiency: In-Depth Insights and Solutions

Women in the snow getting sunlight, making sure she is getting enough vitamin d in the winter and not getting vitamin d deficient.

Despite the importance vitamin D has on our health, many people are not getting enough of the nutrient in their diet. In fact, an estimated 1 billion people worldwide have vitamin D deficiency. [1] Luckily, vitamin D deficiency is preventable and treatable. This article covers what you need to know about vitamin D deficiency to ensure you get enough vitamin D each day.

What is vitamin D deficiency?

Vitamin D deficiency means you have an insufficient amount of vitamin D in your body.

Vitamin D plays a major role in bone and immune health. It helps keep the bones strong and prevents age-related bone disorders like osteoporosis. [2] It also helps the immune system fight off illnesses. 

The body produces less vitamin D as we age. This puts older adults at an increased risk of vitamin D deficiency, which can lead to bone loss and chronic illness. This is why getting enough vitamin D becomes increasingly important as we age.

Read more on Vitamin D and Immunity here.

How much do I need?

The recommended daily intake of vitamin D varies based on age, geographic location, and individual health conditions. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) suggests a range of 15-20 mcg (600-800 IU) for adults, with higher amounts recommended for older individuals. However, some countries and health organizations recommend higher doses, especially in regions with limited sunlight. A comprehensive review published in the “Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology” highlights varying global recommendations and underscores the need for personalized assessment based on individual health factors and lifestyle​​. [3]

What are the signs of vitamin D deficiency?

Not everyone who is vitamin D deficient experiences symptoms. In adults, the most common symptoms are:

  • Fatigue
  • Muscle aches or cramps
  • Bone pain
  • Depression

Who is most at risk for deficiency?

Various factors can increase your risk of vitamin D deficiency, including:

  • Age: Our body makes less vitamin D as we age, which puts people over 65 at an increased risk of vitamin D deficiency.
  • Time spent indoors: People who spend most of their time indoors or are unable to get natural sunlight exposure are at an increased risk of vitamin D deficiency.
  • Skin color: People with darker skin tones absorb less vitamin D from sunlight than people with fair skin, which puts them at an increased risk of vitamin D deficiency.

How can I increase my vitamin D intake?

There are various ways to increase your vitamin D levels.

First, you can get vitamin D through your diet. Foods that are good sources of vitamin D include cheese, mushrooms, egg yolks, and fish like salmon, tuna, swordfish, and sardines. You can also eat foods that contain fortified vitamin D like milk, cheese, and cereals.

Getting exposure to sunlight is another good way to increase your vitamin D levels. However, the best way to treat vitamin D deficiency is through supplementation.

How long does it take to recover vitamin D deficiency?

Recovering from vitamin D deficiency varies depending on several factors, including the severity of the deficiency, individual health conditions, and consistency in following the treatment plan. Generally, it can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months. A study suggests that taking a higher dose of vitamin D supplements can significantly raise levels within 3-4 months. However, it’s essential to follow a healthcare professional’s advice to determine the appropriate treatment duration and avoid excessive intake, which can be harmful.

How to get vitamin D in winter?

In winter, when sunlight exposure is limited, especially in higher latitudes, you can maintain adequate vitamin D levels through diet and supplements. Foods rich in vitamin D include fatty fish (like salmon and mackerel), egg yolks, and fortified foods like milk, cereals, and some plant-based alternatives. Vitamin D supplements are also a practical option. It’s advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any supplementation.

What are the benefits of Vitamin D and relation to longevity? Read here.

Understanding vitamin D absorption and forms

Vitamin D absorption is a critical aspect of its effectiveness. Factors like gut health, dietary fat intake, and the form of vitamin D supplement can influence absorption rates. Traditional vitamin D supplements might not be fully absorbed, especially in individuals with certain digestive issues. This is where liposomal vitamin D3 becomes significant. Liposomal technology encapsulates vitamin D3 in a fat layer, enhancing its absorption in the body. A study in the “European Journal of Clinical Nutrition” indicates that liposomal encapsulation can improve the bioavailability of nutrients, making them more effective​​.


As we age, our body’s ability to produce vitamin D decreases. This puts older adults at risk of vitamin D deficiency and its associated effects. Eating foods rich in vitamin D, getting sunlight exposure, and taking a vitamin D supplement are all ways to avoid vitamin D deficiency.

Our top list of science proven anti-aging vitamins can be found here.


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