Vitamin D deficiency is far more common than you’d think! A recent study in fact indicated that up to 58% of Australians are deficient.
It’s also known as “the sunshine vitamin” because vitamin D is naturally produced by the human body in response to the skin being exposed to sunlight. With the average lifestyle becoming more sedentary and largely indoors, people are having less direct exposure to sunshine. Paired with this is the necessary and important use of high SPF sunscreens which means the sunlight doesn’t get through to our bodies, so it’s not surprising that this is such a common deficiency. Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include : feeling low or depressed, aching bones and gut troubles.
Those most at risk include: strict vegetarians and vegans, those with limited sun exposure or with darker skin, those with poor kidney function who are unable to convert vitamin D to its active form or those who are obese and whose higher quantity of fat cells reduce the vitamin D release and circulation into the blood.
Vitamin D is also found in foods such as certain fish, milk, eggs, fortified dairy and grain products. It’s incredibly important for the body as it’s essential for calcium absorption and for strong bones- preventing a host of bone issues including osteoporosis.
Traditionally, vitamin D deficiencies were linked to mainly bone and bone density problems however research is showing that adequate levels of vitamin D stave off a host of other health issues including : heart disease, autoimmune diseases, infections, cancer, cognitive impairment in older adults as well as asthma in children.
A simple blood test will let your doctor know what your vitamin D levels are and if they are below what is considered adequate for healthy people. The treatment for vitamin D deficiency simply involves getting more into your system – most frequently through either diet or vitamin supplements.
It’s always worth speaking to your doctor if this is something that you are concerned about and that you’d like checked out.