Doctor’s are seeing more and more cases of vitamin D deficiency
Vitamin D is also known as the sunshine vitamin because when bare skin is exposed to the sun, vitamin D is made within the body. This can be a problem if you’re not getting much sun or spending much time outdoors. We also get vitamin D from foods such as oily fish, dairy products, beef and eggs, so a healthy diet is important. But again, this may be a problem for those on a vegan diet.
Also, some people cannot absorb vitamin D from foods due to stomach issues such as IBS and Crohn’s. Factor in the increased use of SPF products, and it’s not surprising then, that doctor’s are seeing more and more cases of vitamin D deficiency.
‘…A vitamin D deficiency is not the same as having low levels of vitamin D. In fact, a deficiency can cause chronic illness, pain and depression, and have a knock-on effect on your overall health’
Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency
Frequent illness – Low levels of vitamin D impair your immune system leaving you prone to picking up bugs. Particularly stomach bugs and viruses like colds, flu and bronchitis
Dizziness – Vitamin D deficiency can cause a calcium imbalance in the body which can lead to loss of bone density. Vertigo, specifically BPPV, can be caused by the bones in the ear degrading
Fatigue – Vitamin D is a vital energy source and the more deficient you are, the more fatigued you will become. This fatigue could be due to reduced efficiency of the mitochondria: the ‘power stations’ within each cell of the body. For more information on this issue, see an article written by Dr Sinha of Newcastle University
Aches and pains – Vitamin D is essential for the absorption of calcium, bone repair and a healthy immune system. Those with a vitamin D deficiency are twice as likely to experience pain in the legs, ribs and joints
Muscle weakness – Poor muscle strength and weakness can be caused by a vitamin D deficiency and can contribute to an increased risk of falls. Particularly in the over 65s
Depression – Studies have shown that there is a strong link between vitamin D deficiency and depression. As vitamin D is important to healthy brain function, insufficient levels may reduce the production of dopamine and serotonin. These are the hormones that are vital for a healthy balanced mind and good mental health
Did you Know that Vitamin D is a Hormone?
Vitamin D is a unique vitamin indeed, in fact, it is actually a hormone! When your body gets vitamin D it is turned into a hormone compound called Calcitrol. This is converted by the kidneys to produce blood calcium and boost the immune system. Long-term vitamin D deficiency can cause rickets in children and osteomalacia (the adult version of rickets) in adults. This is a softening of the bones that can lead to long-term health and mobility problems.
And a vitamin D deficiency is not the same as having low levels of vitamin D. In fact, a deficiency can cause chronic illness and pain and have a knock-on effect on your overall health. We would all be best served by not underestimating the importance of vitamin D
Talk to Your Doctor
If you are suffering from some of the symptoms above, it is worth asking your doctor to check your levels of vitamin D as you may need vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) supplements. Recent surveys have reported that 1 in 5 people have low levels of vitamin D, and the government has issued a new set of guidelines recommending the dosage of vitamin D supplements to be taken daily.
Here are a few of the benefits of vitamin D
|Helps fight cancer||Prevents soft and brittle bones||Boosts brain function|
|Reduces depression||Prevents Alzheimer’s||Regulates blood pressure|
|Keeps immune system healthy||Prevents cardiovascular disease||Improves muscle strength & balance|
|Protects kidneys||Prevents hair loss||Prevents weight gain|
2 Quick Facts:
- A link between vitamin D deficiency and fibromyalgia
Several studies report that people with fibromyalgia have been found to have lower vitamin D levels generally. (In fact, a vitamin D deficiency and a car crash were thought to be the onset of my own diagnosis). In the United Kingdom, 43% of females with fibromyalgia had very low vitamin D levels compared to 19% without fibromyalgia. In Belfast, Northern Ireland, people with fibromyalgia frequently had low vitamin D levels. This study by the Vitamin D Council also links anxiety and depression to low vitamin D levels.
- A link between vitamin D deficiency and MS
A new, large-scale study in Finnish women suggests that vitamin D deficiency can significantly raise the risk of multiple sclerosis, and a deficiency may, in fact, predict the onset of Multiple Sclerosis. This makes it a reliable predictive marker for the disease. Deficient vitamin D levels may increase MS risk by over 40 percent
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