Often referred to as the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D is made within the body when your skin is exposed to sunlight. But getting enough rays can be especially challenging in the winter, when grey days are more common than not.
If this lack of exposure is not offset by vitamin D food sources or supplements, a deficiency can result. And since vitamin D is a vital nutrient to the body, not getting a sufficient amount of it can increase a person’s risk of serious health problems—including cardiovascular disease and cancer. Therefore, it’s important to understand what can cause a vitamin D deficiency, and the signs and symptoms to be mindful of if it occurs.
1. Insufficient Amounts in Diet
In addition to sunlight, most people get their vitamin D intake through the foods they eat—including fish and fish oils, eggs yolks, beef liver, and dairy and grain products that have been fortified with the nutrient.
But, as most of these food sources are animal-based, WebMD says a vitamin D deficiency is more likely to occur in those who “suffer from milk allergies, or adhere to a strict vegan diet.”