Why should I care about Vitamin D?
Vitamin D, one of the most integral vitamins that all of us need to regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate intake, and it also has a significant impact on our bones, teeth, and muscle growth. Not only that, Vitamin D plays a key part in keeping your immune system operating to its optimum and those with severe infections are often found to have very low Vitamin D.
It is reported that over one-fifth of the population in the UK suffers from Vitamin D deficiency due to the lack of exposure to sunlight (Crowe, 2019), and this was identified before the pandemic, so that now with our new hybrid working options where a lot of us can work from home and don’t get out as much during daylight, this is a problem that is potentially increasing.
The Importance of Vitamin D
- Boosting your immune system
Vitamin D helps to boost your immune system to fight infection, and it helps to reduce inflammation.
- Maintaining Healthy Bone Structures
Vitamin D plays a vital role in human bone structures by helping with the intestines’ movements throughout the process of stimulation and absorption of calcium, or otherwise, the kidneys would not function as well. A lack of Vitamin D can cause bones to go soft and cause Ricketts. Thankfully this is rare in the UK but is wide spread in other countries around the world.
- Fighting better with mental illness
People with a Vitamin D deficiency are usually associated with depression and anxiety (Jorde et al, 2008), while another report supports the statement that people who have taken Vitamin D supplements have been experiencing noticeable improvements.
- Healthier Pregnancy
Throughout the research of Weisee et al (2013) on the relationships between food allergy reactions and Vitamin D, it has been indicated that absorbing a high level of Vitamin D through pregnancy can contribute to increased risks of food allergy reactions of the babies in their first two years.
- Improves with Weight Loss
According to Major et al (2008), their research shows that having vitamin D supplements regularly can suppress one’s appetite and thus help lose weight. It also is proven that having a vitamin D supplement daily reduces anyone’s heart disease risk.
Why does Vitamin D deficiency occur?
Our lifestyle is mainly to blame. If you are currently living in cities with buildings blocking the sunlight from your window, or that you’re working from home and not getting out for a break in the day, you may not have good levels of Vitamin D. In fact, it’s easier than you think to be Vitamin D deficient and until you have a blood test from the Doctor you may not show any noticeable symptoms.
Some of the reasons why you might not get enough Vitamin D are:
- Constantly using sunscreen (blocking against harmful UVB & UVA rays is important, but you also block your ability to absorb Vitamin D)
- Air Pollution
- Staying indoors for a large part of the day
What are the general symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency?
Endless tiredness, chronic fatigue, severe bone/joint pain & discomfort or muscle aches, feeling stressed or a low mood, and a lack in concentration. However, do not panic, there are lots of things you can easily do to boost your Vitamin D intake, and it doesn’t take a lot to get you back to normal.
Ways to Boost your Vitamin D intake
Most people do not have to rely on Vitamin D supplements, as a balanced and healthy diet could maintain a sufficient amount of Vitamin D intake for everyone.
The list below shows the major Vitamin D source where you can get from,
- egg yolk
- milk (fortified)
- cereal (fortified)
- yogurt (fortified)
- orange juice (fortified)
Consider supplementation. Whilst most of us have a varied diet, it may not always be enough and so it can be easy to have a deficiency even with a balanced diet.
If you are identified with a Vitamin D deficiency, your Doctor will recommend supplementation for at least 3 months as it normally takes this long to get enough of the nutrient back into your body. The healthy amount of Vitamin D intake for different age groups is as follows:
- children and teens: 600iu (remember there are formulas in liquid form that can be easily absorbed)
- adults up to age 70: 600iu
- adults over age 70: 800iu
- pregnant or breastfeeding women: 600iu
Be aware, that if you’re already taking a quality Multi-vitamin supplement that you normally have the recommended daily dose incorporated in the supplement, however, if you’re identified with a deficiency most Doctors will recommend taking an additional specific Vitamin D supplement as well.
Things to consider
If you suspect that you may have a Vitamin D deficiency see your Doctor as soon as you can and get your Vitamin D levels checked in your blood. It will take you 3 months to significantly improve your levels, so the sooner it is identified the better…
And remember, that if you do have a deficiency, it’s not the end of the world, and you can improve your situation by:
- trying eating a different variety of foods that are higher in Vitamin D
- going for a walk at lunch or during daylight hours (be careful about sun exposure but avoid if you can, applying sunscreen)
- take a supplement – if your body doesn’t need Vitamin D, it will dispose of it naturally through your digestion system