Ostealgia is a ‘subtle’ yet key symptom of vitamin D deficiency

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From a healthy immune system to strong bones, vitamin D assists various processes in your body. While symptoms pointing to the lack of the sunshine nutrient tend to be quite “subtle”, knowing what to look for is the first step in identifying a deficiency. One sign known as ostealgia warrants a GP visit, according to a pharmacist.

With days getting shorter and the weather colder, getting enough sunlight might prove more difficult in the upcoming months.

Bina Mehta, Boots Pharmacist, said: “The main source of vitamin D is sunlight on the skin. 

“Unlike other vitamins, it is difficult to get enough vitamin D from food sources alone and in autumn and winter, the sun isn’t strong enough in the UK for the skin to make vitamin D.”

The lack of sunshine vitamin could therefore lay the groundwork for vitamin D deficiency, triggering warning signs like ostealgia.

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Vitamin D plays an important part in keeping your bones and muscles healthy, which means the lack of this nutrient can present symptoms in these exact areas.

According to Mehta, one of the “subtle” yet key symptoms is ostealgia, also known as pain in your bones.

This type of pain can be described as tenderness, aching or discomfort, with patients saying that their bones start feeling painful under moderate pressure.

The pharmacist said: “In adults, deficiency in vitamin D can cause bone pain and muscle weakness although these symptoms may be very subtle. 

“It’s worth visiting your GP if you are experiencing either of these symptoms on an ongoing basis. 

“They can perform a blood test, which is the most accurate way to measure how much vitamin D is in your body. 

“Also speak to your GP or pharmacist if you are not experiencing any symptoms but are concerned that your vitamin D levels may be low.” 

Both the bone pain and muscle weakness the expert detailed belong under musculoskeletal issues, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

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The health portal explains: “Musculoskeletal pain can be acute, meaning it is sudden and severe. 

“Or the pain can be chronic (long-lasting). You may have localised pain (in one area of your body), or it may affect your entire body.”

While an injury like a broken bone can cause these signs to occur, vitamin D can also spur on these symptoms.

However, the health portal details that musculoskeletal issues aren’t the only symptoms as the full list includes:

  • Tiredness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Muscle aches
  • Muscle cramps.
  • Mood changes
  • Depression.

Mehta said: “An ongoing study of the UK population shows that vitamin D levels remain low overall, and this puts people at risk of poor muscle and bone health. 

“The Government therefore recommends that everyone, as a minimum, take a daily supplement containing 10mcg of vitamin D during autumn and winter, primarily to support their bones and muscles.

“The amount of vitamin D can vary between supplements. Adults should look out for those containing the recommended 10 micrograms, which is equivalent to 400 International Units (IU).

“Since vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin – meaning it doesn’t dissolve in water – your body can most easily absorb it when you take it with food, especially fat-containing foods such as a glass of milk.” 


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