Vitamin D deficiency, also known as hypovitaminosis D, is a condition that arises due to insufficient Vitamin D content in the body. It is caused by inadequate intake of Vitamin D sources like fish and milk, and with minimal exposure to Ultraviolet B rays. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to bone diseases such as rickets in children as well as osteomalacia and osteoporosis with adults. Luckily, there are a number of proven ways to combat Vitamin D deficiency.
What are the common symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency?
Vitamin D plays many roles when it comes to our health. You may be deficient in Vitamin D if you are experiencing the following symptoms:
- Bone Pain – Vitamin D is responsible for the absorption of Calcium into the digestive system. It is directly involved in keeping our bones strong and healthy. If you are experiencing bone pain, especially lower back pain, this might be due to low levels of Vitamin D in your blood.
- Frequent Sickness – Vitamin D also stimulates our innate immune system, which protects our body against infection from foreign organisms. Vitamin D deficiency increases the risk of viral infections including common colds and flu, tuberculosis, asthma, pneumonia and other respiratory tract infections.
- Depression – Studies have shown a link between depression and low sunlight exposure, especially during winter season. This can be associated with the decreased level of Vitamin D absorbed by the body.
- Slow Wound Healing – Vitamin D reduces inflammation, fights infection, and helps in cell growth to help heal wounds faster. Inadequate levels of Vitamin D slows down our body’s natural ability to heal.
What are the ways to combat Vitamin D deficiency?
Fighting Vitamin D deficiency means getting enough Vitamin D in our body. The first thing to do is to know how much Vitamin D you need for the day. Taking Vitamin D tests like the 25(OH)D will help you do so (your GP can help arrange this). Next is to make sure that you are getting enough Vitamin D by doing the following:
Spend some time in the Sun
This is the best and most effective way to boost your Vitamin D intake. Spend 15-30 minutes directly in the sun either by walking, jogging, playing sports or just sitting in the park. It will help you get some exposure to UVB rays, which is the main ingredient in Vitamin D production of the body. However, make sure not to overexpose your skin, especially during the hottest part of the day.
Avoid using Sunscreen
Sunscreens contain elements that completely blocks UVB rays, which is the very thing that your skin needs to absorb Vitamin D. Take an early morning walk or an afternoon jog when the sunlight is milder so you can safely stay under the sun sunscreen-free.
Eat Vitamin D-rich Foods
During winter or rainy seasons when there is not a high amount of sunlight, the best alternative to getting Vitamin D is from food. Dairy products like milk, cheese, yogurt, as well as egg, fish and mushroom will give you your daily dose of Vitamin D.
Take Vitamin D Supplements
Another way to combat Vitamin D deficiency is to take the appropriate Vitamin D supplements. Make sure to consult your doctor for the correct dosage amounts or else you could risk Vitamin D toxicity.
These ways to prevent Vitamin D deficiency are essential, especially for those who are more prone to it. This includes the elderly, people with darker skin, overweight or obese individuals, and those who have disorders in Vitamin D absorption. Various lifestyle factors can also contribute to a greater tendency for deficiency in Vitamin D such as living in areas with minimal sunshine, people who spend more of their time indoors and those who work during the night.
Speak to your GP about a test to determine where your Vitamin D levels are at and whether supplements are the right choice for you. If so, come and talk to the team at Greg Keily Chemist and we’ll talk you through our available range to see what will work better for you.