Can Low Vitamin D Cause Dizziness?

Erin Coleman, R.D., L.D.
Woman feeling dizzy

If you're feeling dizzy regularly, there's often a good explanation as to why this unpleasant side effect is happening to you. You might be wondering if you're missing certain nutrients, or if you're at risk for a more serious medical condition. A 2008 review in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports 30 to 50 percent of adults and children are at risk for developing vitamin D deficiency. Low vitamin D can lead to a variety of symptoms -- and knowing if this is causing your dizziness is necessary to correct the problem.

Vertigo and Vitamin D Deficiency

Several studies have found a link between vitamin D deficiency and a form of vertigo called benign positional paroxysmal vertigo (BPPV). One such study published in 2013 in the Journal of Neurology found low blood levels of vitamin D may be a risk factor of BPPV. Another 2016 study found improvements in blood levels of vitamin D reduce the occurrence of BPPV. Likewise, a third study published in 2015 found low vitamin D levels are indeed related BPPV.

So, if you're suffering from vertigo and feeling dizzy, it might be time to get your blood vitamin D levels checked. If vertigo is indeed due to vitamin D deficiency, once your levels are back to normal, the dizziness should subside. This process could take up to several months, depending on how low your vitamin D levels are. Taking vitamin D supplements is a good way to normalize vitamin D levels when you are deficient.

Mechanism

While the reason high and low levels of vitamin D can cause dizziness isn't entirely clear, some theories do exist. The Vitamin D Council notes vitamin D receptors found in the inner ear probably regulate calcium crystals (also found in the inner ear), which help your body sense balance and motion. However, more research is needed to determine the exact cause and effect relationship between low vitamin D and dizziness.

Blood Pressure Considerations

While more research is needed in this area, the Vitamin D Council notes low vitamin D may be linked with higher blood pressures. Because some blood pressure medications can cause dizziness, low vitamin D may be connected to feeling dizzy. However, more research is necessary to know for sure.

What About Depression?

Getting too little vitamin D is linked with depression, according to Dr. Frank Lipman. Likewise, Mayo Clinic notes some anti-depressant medications also have dizziness listed as a side effect. So, getting plenty of vitamin D may help you avoid anti-depressants and the side effects (like dizziness) associated with such medications.

Parkinson's Disease and Dizziness

If you have Parkinson's disease, you might experience dizziness as a symptom, according to Mayo Clinic, and low vitamin D may be linked with this debilitating disease. The Parkinson's Disease Foundation notes vitamin D deficiency is common among patients with Parkinson's disease, and that vitamin D supplements may have potential as a treatment for these patients. More research is needed to know for sure.

High Vitamin D and Dizziness

It may be tough to determine the cause of your dizziness, even if it's vitamin D related, because getting too much vitamin D from supplements also leads to lightheadedness. MedlinePlus notes excess vitamin D in your body can cause a condition called hypercalcemia (too much calcium in your blood), and a symptom of hypercalcemia is dizziness.

Other Causes of Dizziness

Just because you're feeling dizzy doesn't mean you're deficient in vitamin D. Other possible causes of dizziness include:

  • Low blood sugar
  • Being overheated
  • Dehydration
  • Anemia (low iron levels)
  • Certain medications
  • Neurological disorders (Parkinson's disease or multiple sclerosis)
  • Poor circulation
  • Migraines
  • Maniere's disease (buildup of fluid in the inner ear)
  • Infection

Get your vitamin D levels checked by a doctor to determine if dizziness is related to low vitamin D. Any sign of dizziness is a good reason to see a doctor, as it could be a sign of a serious medical condition.

Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency

The main symptoms of vitamin D deficiency (especially long-term) are osteoporosis, bone fractures, and rickets (soft bones) in children. However, research indicates low vitamin D may be associated with vertigo -- and possibly other health conditions that are linked with dizziness.

Vitamin D Status May Affect Dizziness

Low vitamin D appears to be associated with benign positional paroxysmal vertigo (BPPV) -- which can cause dizziness. However, excess vitamin D (and a variety of other factors) may also be the cause of lightheadedness. Dizziness caused by vitamin D deficiency can be corrected with vitamin D supplements, but always check with your doctor to help determine the cause of vitamin D deficiency, and the appropriate course of treatment.

Can Low Vitamin D Cause Dizziness?