Cold Hands, Cold Feet: Could Vitamin D be the Culprit?

Imagine waking up on a bright, sunny morning and feeling an unexplained wave of fatigue, your muscles protesting with subtle aches, and a cloud of melancholy hovering over your spirits. You’d probably chalk it up to a bad night’s sleep or stress. But what if the sun shining outside held a clue to your woes?

If you ask: “Does vitamin D deficiency make you feel cold?” I will answer yes. However, how does low vitamin D make you feel cold?

Read the article to learn about Vitamin D and how it’s related to body temperature and makes you feel cold.

The Relation Between Vitamin D And Body Temperature

Vitamin D, fondly known as the “sunshine vitamin,” is crucial for your health. It silently affects various facets of your well-being, from bones to mood. While the sun is a natural and primary source, dietary sources like fatty fish and fortified foods also chip in.

Over the years, research has pointed toward the possible link between Vitamin D and the body’s temperature regulation.

Vitamin D and body temperature are bidirectionally related.

Vitamin D affects metabolism and body temperature by influencing thyroid hormone activity. Thus, low vitamin D levels have been associated with hypothyroidism, which causes a slow metabolism, weight gain, fatigue, and cold intolerance.

On the other hand, high vitamin D levels may increase your metabolic rate and make you burn more calories, raising your body temperature.

Now, The temperature of your skin impacts your body’s ability to generate vitamin D. When your skin is warm, it produces more vitamin D than when it is cool.

The heat usually enhances the conversion of 7-dehydrocholesterol, a compound found in your skin, into pre-vitamin D3. Subsequently, pre-vitamin D3 is transformed into vitamin D3.

Therefore, if your skin is cold, you may produce less vitamin D than warm skin.

Does Vitamin D Deficiency Make You Feel Cold?

Vitamin D may make you feel cold by lowering your metabolism or weakening your immune system, which makes you catch common colds easily. However, vitamin D deficiency doesn’t result in bodily chills.

Vitamin D deficiency occurs when the body lacks enough of this crucial nutrient to support strong bones, teeth, muscle, immune system, nerve function, and cell growth. One symptom you may face is feeling or getting cold due to this deficiency.

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Here are 3 possible reasons why you may feel cold.

  1. Lowering Your Metabolic Rate

Insufficient vitamin D levels can lower metabolic rates, reducing calorie burn and lowering heat production. Thyroid hormones responsible for controlling metabolic rate are also influenced by vitamin D levels. Low vitamin D can cause hypothyroidism, resulting in weight gain, fatigue, and sensitivity to cold.

  1. Impairing Your Immune System

Vitamin D regulates your immune response and fights pathogens. Research has indicated that individuals with lower vitamin D levels are at a higher risk of contracting the common cold, while those who supplement with vitamin D are less likely to get it. Besides, vitamin D may reduce the severity and duration of respiratory infections.

  1. Reducing Your Serotonin Levels

Vitamin D may influence the synthesis and function of serotonin in your brain. Studies suggest that a lack of Vitamin D can lead to depression, anxiety, and sensitivity to cold stimuli. It also affects mood, appetite, sleep, and body temperature.

Does Vitamin D Deficiency Make You Feel Cold?

Can Low Vitamin D Cause Cold Hands And Feet?

Vitamin D deficiency can result in cold hands and feet for various reasons, such as anemia or thyroid dysfunction. Poor blood circulation is one of the symptoms of vitamin D deficiency, which may lead to cold extremities.

Vitamin D regulates nitric oxide production, improving blood flow. Low levels impair nitric oxide production, reducing blood flow and body temperature. Besides, it can affect the thyroid gland function, leading to hypothyroidism and symptoms like cold intolerance, fatigue, weight gain, and dry skin.

Cold hands and feet can be caused by factors such as Raynaud’s syndrome, diabetes, or peripheral artery disease. Consult a doctor if you experience persistent or severe coldness in your hands and feet.

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What Are The Worst Symptoms Of Vitamin D Deficiency?

Some of the common symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Muscle aches
  • Bone pain
  • Muscle cramps
  • Difficulty walking
  • Frequent infections or illnesses
  • Hair loss
  • Slow wound healing
  • Mood changes or depression.

What Are The Causes Of Vitamin D Deficiency?

Vitamin D deficiency can have various causes.

  • Insufficient sun exposure: Sun exposure is limited by high latitudes, staying indoors, clothing, and skin tone. UVB rays from the sun help your skin produce vitamin D.
  • Poor Vitamin D diet: Some foods like fatty fish, egg yolks, milk, and soy products contain vitamin D. However, it may still be challenging to get enough of it through diet alone.
  • Kidney or liver disease: Kidney or liver disease can hinder vitamin D activation.
  • Absorption disorder: Certain conditions can hinder vitamin D absorption, such as celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, cystic fibrosis, or gastric bypass surgery.
  • Medications: Some medications can interfere with your vitamin D metabolism or absorption, such as anticonvulsants, glucocorticoids, antiretrovirals, or weight-loss drugs.

How To Prevent And Treat Vitamin D Deficiency?

Here are some tips on maintaining optimal vitamin D levels in your body.

Get Good Sun Exposure

Sun exposure for 15-30 minutes per day between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. is a good way to get vitamin D, depending on your skin type. Other factors like seasons, weather, and time can affect the amount of vitamin D you get from the sun.

Sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher can reduce vitamin D production by 95%. So, expose your arms, legs, back, and face without sunscreen. However, avoid sunburn and excessive sun exposure.

Eat Foods Rich In Vitamin D

Another way to get vitamin D is from food. However, very few foods contain vitamin D naturally. Some of the best sources are-

  • Fatty fish, such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, and sardines
  • Egg yolks
  • Cheese
  • Beef liver
  • Mushrooms.

You can also eat foods fortified with vitamin D that include-

  • Milk
  • Orange juice
  • Cereals
  • Soy products
  • Yogurt
  • Cheese.

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Take Vitamin D Supplements

You may need vitamin D supplements if you are not getting enough from the sun or food. The type and dose of vitamin D supplements you need depend on your age, health condition, and 25(OH)D level.

There are two main forms of vitamin D supplements: ergocalciferol (vitamin D2) and cholecalciferol (vitamin D3). Some studies suggest vitamin D3 is more effective and preferable in raising your 25(OH)D level.

Here are the recommended daily vitamin D2 or D3 doses for preventing and treating deficiency.

ConditionTreatment doseMaintenance dose
Vitamin D deficiency (general)50,000 IU weekly for 6-8 weeks or 2000-6000 IU daily for 6-8 weeks400-2000 IU daily
Vitamin D deficiency (infants and toddlers 0-1 year)2000 IU daily for 6 weeks or 50,000 IU weekly for 6 weeks400-1000 IU daily
Vitamin D deficiency (children 1-18 years)2000 IU daily for 6 weeks or 50,000 IU weekly for 6 weeks600-1000 IU daily
Vitamin D deficiency (obesity, malabsorption, medication)6000-10,000 IU daily for 6-8 weeks3000-6000 IU daily

However, consult your doctor before taking vitamin D supplements to get the right dose and avoid too much.

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How To Stop Feeling Cold Caused by Vitamin D Deficiency?

How To Stop Feeling Cold Caused by Vitamin D Deficiency?

Here are some tips from the search results on how to stop feeling cold-

  • Dress in layers to trap heat and keep warm.
  • Exercise to warm up your body and get your blood flowing.
  • Massage your hands and feet every day.
  • Add a few drops of cinnamon or ginger essential oils to a neutral cream or lotion for extra warmth.
  • Drink enough fluids, such as warm water or herbal tea, to stay hydrated and warm up.
  • Eat foods with high water concentrations, such as melons and apples.
  • Check your blood tests for signs of vitamin deficiency and talk to your doctor about the best course of action.
  • Get enough vitamin D from sun exposure, foods, or supplements.

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Which Vitamin Deficiency Makes You Feel Cold?

Several vitamin deficiencies can cause you to feel cold. These include-

  • Vitamin B12 deficiency: Vitamin B12 helps make red blood cells and transport oxygen. A lack of it can cause chills and feeling cold.
  • Iron deficiency: Iron deficiency anemia is common in the US, especially among women. It can cause chronic chills and cold extremities.
  • Folate deficiency: Low folate levels can make you feel cold.
  • Magnesium deficiency: Magnesium is important for regulating body temperature, and a deficiency can lead to feeling cold.
  • Potassium deficiency: Potassium helps regulate body temperature, and a deficiency can lead to feeling cold.
  • Vitamin C deficiency: Low vitamin C levels can make you feel cold.

If you are experiencing persistent coldness, see your primary care provider and get a blood test to check your vitamin and mineral levels.


Vitamin D plays many roles in our health, but its direct link to cold hands and feet isn’t clear-cut. If you’re experiencing such symptoms, you must consult a doctor for a full evaluation rather than making assumptions based on vitamin D alone.

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