What is Vitamin D and Why is it Important?
Vitamin D is one of the key nutrients that is needed for our bodies to maintain good health, it is a fat-soluble vitamin that is naturally present is certain foods, but, our bodies primarily produce it when the skin is exposed to sunlight. However, due to a variety of factors, such as lifestyle and climate, many people have low levels of vitamin D, leading to a deficiency.
Therefore, Vitamin D plays an incredibly important role in many bodily functions, like the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, which are necessary for strong bones and teeth. It is particularly helpful as it also supports the immune system, cardiovascular health, and can even reduce the risk of certain type of cancer and autoimmune diseases.
Who is at Risk of Vitamin D Deficiency
There are groups of people who are at higher risk of suffering from Vitamin D deficiency, primarily those that live in areas with less sunlight, those with darker skin tones, and people who cover their skin more due to religious or cultural reasons. Additionally, older adults, people who are obese or have gastrointestinal issues, and those that follow plant-based diets are also at risk of deficiency.
If you are worried about potentially being deficient in Vitamin D, we provide a blood test to check Vitamin D levels.
Symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency
Symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency can vary depending on the severity of deficiency, but it can lead to various health problems such as:
- Weakness and Fatigue: Playing a role in muscle function and energy production, vitamin D deficiency will cause low levels an energy, and feelings of tiredness and weakness.
- Bone and Joint Pain: Deficiency in Vitamin D can cause loss of bone density, resulting in pain and an increased risk of fractures.
- Muscle Weakness: Vitamin D is involved in muscle function and coordination, deficiency in this vital vitamin can cause muscle weakness, and difficulty with balance and coordination.
- Mood Changes: Mental health can be impacted by the levels of Vitamin D in your body, as it is thought to help in mood regulation, with low levels being linked to an increase of depression and mood disorders.
- Increased risk of infections: As this vitamin is important in keeping the immune system healthy, deficiency in Vitamin D has been known to increase the risk of infections like colds, flu, and pneumonia.
- Slow Wound Healing: Vitamin D aids in the healing process of the body, low levels of the vitamin can slow down the repairing and regeneration process of tissue in the body.
- Hair Loss: This symptom if especially rare, but severe deficiency in Vitamin D can result in hair thinning, or losing hair altogether.
The recommended daily intake of Vitamin D for most adults is 600-800 IU per day, however, this can vary depending of factors like age, health status, and sun exposure, along with the severity of deficiency. Prescribed intake of Vitamin D supplements can be much higher in their doses. Vitamin D supplements come in a variety of forms, the most common being capsules, tablets, and drops, but when looking for supplements, it is important to find those that contain Vitamin D3, the most effective and active form of the vitamin.