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What is a Vitamin Deficiency That Causes Muscle Aches & Tiredness?

author image Brandy Williams, R.D.
A registered dietitian and licensed dietitian/nutritionist, Brandy Williams began writing in 2007. Her publications can be found in peer-reviewed journals such as the "American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine" and "Public Health Nutrition." Williams holds a Master of Science in human nutrition and food from Louisiana State University.
What is a Vitamin Deficiency That Causes Muscle Aches & Tiredness?
Vitamin deficiencies can cause muscle aches and fatigue. Photo Credit: VladimirFLoyd/iStock/Getty Images

If you are experiencing muscle aches and tiredness, it is possible that you are missing some important nutrients. A deficiency in vitamin D, B-12, C, or thamine can not only cause these symptoms, but also have other detrimental effects on your body if left untreated.

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Vitamin D

The Centers for Disease Control estimates vitamin D insufficiency at over 60 percent in U.S. adults over 60 years of age. A high population of young, otherwise healthy adults also have vitamin D insufficiency. Inadequate exposure to sunlight or inadequate dietary intake can lead to this condition. Vitamin D is needed for calcium absorption and plays a role in bone building and maintenance of bone density. Osteomalacia, the adult form of rickets, causes widespread muscle aches, soreness, fatigue, and increases the risk of bone fractures.

Vitamin B-12

Cyanocobalamin is referred to as vitamin B-12. It is needed for red blood cell development and nervous system function. While fatigue is a common symptom in the beginning stages of deficiency, nerve damage accompanied by pain and tingling in the extremities occur in the late stages of deficiency. While fatigue can be remedied by replenishing B-12 stores, damage to the nervous system as a result of lack of adequate B-12 can be irreversible.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C deficiency is not common in the United States. However, it does exist. Mild deficiency causes tiredness, while a severe deficiency, known as scurvy, is characterized by weakness, fatigue, and muscle aches and pains.


A thiamine deficiency can cause a severe neurological condition known as dry beriberi. Weakness and pain are two of the symptoms, but paralysis, difficult walking, and irreversible nervous system damage can result. Thiamine deficiency is not uncommon following gastric bypass surgery.

Muscle Aches and Tiredness May Be Something More

Muscle aches and tiredness can often be mild symptoms comparatively in some deficiencies if left unchecked and uncorrected. Obtaining an adequate diet may be enough to correct deficiencies in some people, but in more severe cases pharmacological doses of vitamins may be necessary. If you suspect you have a vitamin deficiency, it is important that you see a doctor.

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