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Are you Vitamin D Deficient?

BY DIONNE LISTER

Vitamin D is essential to our health, but alarmingly more and more of us are becoming deficient in this vitamin and it is now a ‘worldwide problem’ according to The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2008). I have had experience with this. I was fatigued and not recovering well after gym sessions and even though I was fit it was taking four or five days for the muscle soreness to subside.

When I spoke to my family, my sister who has been vitamin D deficient in the past, told me to have a blood test. My results confirmed I had low levels of Vitamin D and my doctor prescribed 1000 mg of Vitamin D in the form of a tablet supplement. This has cured my problem but unfortunately there are many people out there who don’t know they are deficient and this can have serious health effects.

Low levels of vitamin D are caused predominately by lack of sun exposure and whilst we are all told to ‘slip, slop, slap’ this had led to a massive instance of low vitamin D levels. So what is the problem, you may ask? Vitamin D plays an important role in calcium absorption, regulating the metabolism of calcium and phosphorus in the body, regulating the immune system and neuromuscular function and insufficient levels of Vitamin D will hold back the production of leptin which regulates fat in the body. This all means that vitamin D deficiency leads to rickets in children, osteoporosis in adults and diabetes. Lack of vitamin D has also been linked to chronic backache, fatigue, cancer, multiple sclerosis, obesity, heart disease, hypertension, depression and hyperparathyroidism.

So, how can we protect ourselves? If you are diagnosed with insufficient vitamin D levels a supplement is the quickest way to address the imbalance, however the best way to stay healthy is to have moderate consistent sun exposure whilst keeping in mind the risk of skin cancer. Those with dark skin need approximately three to six times the sun exposure of fair or olive skin people. Just a note, don’t take supplements if your levels are fine as there is a risk of overdosing and ending up with too much calcium in your system which will lead to some of the symptoms that you are trying to avoid. As with anything be aware and be sensible, always consult your GP if you have concerns and don’t be afraid to ask for that blood test.

For more detailed information please see the links below.

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