What are the symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency?
With lots of talk in the Health News lately about everyone needing to get more Vitamin D we decided to look into some of the symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency.
We also wanted to look at ways to help you get more of it into your body including Vitamin D foods and possibly the use of supplements too.
Vitamin D or the sunshine vitamin as it is known is produced by the body when it’s exposed to sunlight.
Vit D can also be obtained by eating such foods as egg yolks, certain types of fish, mushrooms, and fish liver oils.
A deficiency in this vitamin is normally caused by diet, for example a vegan diet or someone who is lactose intolerant.
Also a lack of exposure to sunlight can lead to you having too little and can sometimes develop into a softening of the bones if left (Rickets in children).
This is because this vitamin has a significant role in the ability of the body to absorb calcium.
The 17th century was when British researchers first found and described Rickets.Then in Germany in the late 19th to early 20th century doctors found that 1 – 3 teaspoons of cod liver oil could reverse rickets.
The signs and symptoms you may have a deficiency of Vitamin D can include…
- Bones Ache
- Feeling a bit low and down
- A Sweaty head
- Stomach trouble – due to having trouble absorbing fat
Who’s most likely to show symptoms of vitamin D deficiency?
Lack of the D vitamin is a common worldwide issue in the elderly but also in lesser developed parts of the world it is not unheard of as a problem in both children and adults.
Most at risk from a deficiency are housebound adults through either age, infirmity or sometimes own choice. As well as people from countries where dark garments are worn to cover the body from head to toe for religious beliefs. If you have darker skin you will also need higher amounts of sun exposure to capture as much Vitamin D from the sun as someone with pale skin.
People who suffer from medical conditions such as Celiac disease and Crohn’s disease are also at risk, as their bodies have an inability to absorb dietary fats.
What health problems can arise from vitamin D deficiency?
Research is now showing that a lack of Vitamin D can be associated to health problems including:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Children’s severe asthma
- Elderly cognitive impairment – Low blood levels of Vit D have been seen in these conditions
Bone pain and muscle weakness in adults could also be due to low vitamin D levels.
As well as bone development, Vitamin D is essential for the immune system and can help with the lessening of inflammation.
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It’s also believed this vitamin could play a significant role in the prevention and treatment of some other symptoms of vitamin D deficiency such as the four listed below, however it must be stressed further research needs to be carried out to be conclusive.
- Multiple sclerosis
- Diabetes – types 1 and 2
- Glucose intolerance
The risks of too much sun do not cause Vitamin D toxicity but could possibly result in skin damage if not careful.
Taking too many supplements containing it could result in toxicity so please always read and follow guidelines to the recommended daily dose.
Here’s some Vitamin D Foods….
As long as you follow a varied diet daily, which includes vegetables, proteins, fruits, milk products (including fat-free or low-fat milk), whole grains and oils you should be in pretty good shape.
Add to this, foods such as these that are Vitamin D rich, even better….
Fatty fish is an excellent source of Vitamin D so sardines, herring, kippers, tuna, salmon and mackerel are very good.
Milk, many ready to eat cereals, some yogurt and orange juice are Vitamin D fortified. Small amounts of vitamin D occur naturally in cheese too.
Fortified dairy and grain products can also give you a good dose of Vit D.
Recipes using some fantastically tasty Vitamin D foods
Have a look at these recipe ideas to include more Vitamin D enriched foods in your diet….
1. Harissa sardines with couscous salad
This gorgeous fish recipe courtesy of Jamie Oliver cooks in 15 mins and is easy to make. A spicy Moroccan-style salad including cool and spicy yoghurt.
2. Glazed Salmon With Broccoli Rice
This lovely salmon and broccoli recipe from realsimple.com is great for Vitamin D and super easy to make…
3. Gingery Salmon With Peaches
Taking only 20 minutes in total this Gingery Salmon recipe offers a slightly original take on a Salmon dish tastes delish!
Vitamin D deficiency
The amount of Vitamin D we require daily is not set and as long as a balanced diet is followed and you get plenty of sunshine during the summer months it should mean that your body can store enough to get through the winter months.
Just keep an eye out for the symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency and top up if you think you need it.
The trouble is with poor summers and long winters in places like the UK, Europe and the US for example could mean that you are not producing enough. It’s also good to note that the Winter sun rays do not reach us at the correct angle so we do get enough UVB rays.
The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition, are currently looking at the growing data regarding Vitamin D to see if we need to take extra via supplements and the evidence is growing that this may be a good option.
With this in mind it is worth knowing that if you do take a vitamin D supplement go for Vitamin D3 as this is the same form produced by the body.
So go get yourself some sun! and fill your tums with some beautiful oily fish, eggs and mushrooms.