Dr Chris spoke about vitamin D deficiency on This Morning today, urging those who live further north tot ensure they get enough sunlight. The body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium and if a person does not have enough vitamin D, calcium will not be absorbed properly from the food they eat, causing low levels of calcium in the blood. Low calcium means deformities in bones, teeth, nerves and muscles. Vitamin D is an extremely important vitamin and has many powerful effects on the body.
Rickets is a childhood bone disorder where children are not getting enough calcium and is the main cause of vitamin D deficiency.
The condition is when the bones soften and was such become prone to fractures and deformities.
It mostly affects children, but may also affect adults in a condition known as osteomalacia.
Vitamin D deficiency is largely due to inadequate exposure to sunlight and as vitamin D is a hormone produced in the skin with sunlight exposure, sunshine is vital for getting enough vitamin D.
In particular, the sun is the main source of vitamin D3 which is a type of vitamin D that increases levels of the ‘feel good’ chemicals in the brain known as dopamine.
This Morning’s Dr Chris said: “We all need to be getting sunshine in our daily lives and research has shown that people who live more up north have more diseases which is a result of not getting enough sunshine. I recommend at least 20 minutes a day.”
The NHS advised: “Vitamin D largely comes from exposing the skin to sunlight, but its also found in some foods. In rare cases, children can be born with a genetic form of rickets.
“It can also develop if another condition affects how vitamins and mineral are absorbed.”
Foods that are rich in vitamin D:
- Fish oils
- Some fortified milks and juices
- Some oily fishes, including mackerel and salmon
- Some soy milk products
- Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency:
- Fatigue and tiredness
- Getting sick or often infected
- Bone and back pain
- Bone loss
- Slow healing wounds
- Hair loss
- Muscle pain
For the vast majority of people who want to get their adequate amount of vitamin D, supplementation is the easiest, safest and most effective way to do so.
Vitamin D deficiency symptoms are often subtle however the condition is incredibly common and most people are unaware of it. If you think you may have the deficiency its important to speak to your doctor and get your blood levels measured.
You can ask your doctor about a blood test called the 25-hydroxy vitamin D test and is the most accurate way to measure how much vitamin D is in your body.
Fixing a deficiency is simple, easy and will benefit general health greatly.