How can you tell if you need a boost?
Our bodies make vitamin D from cholesterol when our skin is exposed to sunlight. This is all well and good while the sun in shining, but let’s face it – from about September onwards the UK’s sky is generally grey and overcast, leaving many of us deficient in this vital vitamin which not only supports our immune system, but for healthy strong bones, teeth and muscle.
And it’s not just the grim weather – other risk factors for being low in vitamin D include being elderly, having dark skin, always staying indoors and using sunscreen outdoors most of the time, and being overweight or obese.
So how can you tell if you need a boost? Common signs of deficiency include:
Lots of studies have shown a link between vitamin D deficiency and increased colds, bronchitis and pneumonia. The vitamin interacts with the cells responsible for fighting infection, and so if you find you're catching everything going round, low levels may be to blame.
This is a common complaint, but vitamin D deficiency if often an overlooked cause of fatigue. Quite a lot of studies, both observational and case study-based, have identified low blood levels of the patient to be the cause of their persistent tiredness, and supplementation has been successful in boosting energy levels.
Studies have found relationships between chronic lower back pain in particular and a vitamin D deficiency. It's thought this is due to its role in helping to maintain bone health. In one experiment in particular, people with vitamin D deficiency were nearly twice as likely to experience bone pain in their legs, ribs or joints compared to those with blood levels in the normal range. Muscle pain can also be a symptom.
A large scientific review found that there is a link between low levels of vitamin D in the blood and depression. They went on to advise that taking a supplement could in some cases improve the disorder.
If you heal slower than normal after an injury or surgery, it could point to low levels of vitamin D. Research suggests that the vitamin helps with production of compounds that are crucial for new skin forming to heal a wound. D's role in inflammation control and infection fighting are also important for healing.
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