Vitamin D is often called the sunshine vitamin. When we're exposed to the sunshine, our bodies can produce vitamin D. However, the climate in many countries can mean we don't get enough vitamin D without supplementing it in some way. Vitamin D has many health benefits and is responsible for helping our bones remain healthy, having strong teeth, and staving off potential conditions such as type one diabetes. There is a school of thought that suggests everyone living in the UK should permanently take a vitamin D supplement to compensate for the weather.
Not Enough Vitamin D
People often wonder how they would know whether they have enough vitamin D. A blood test is the only conclusive way; however, this may be recommended by your doctor if you experience the following symptoms. Constant fatigue, impaired healing from wounds, regular sickness and infection, bone and back pain, hair loss, muscle pain, and a low mood.
Why Are People Vitamin D Deficient?
There are lots of different reasons why people cannot have enough vitamin D. Night workers, and people who spend a lot of time indoors are at risk of not getting vitamin D naturally. Although we need sunscreen to protect against the damaging effects of the sun's rays, it can also knock the ability of the body to produce vitamin D naturally. So, conversely, some people who work outside all the time but use high factor sunscreen (SPF30 plus) can also fail to produce enough. It is more common for people who have darker skin to be lacking in vitamin D, and children who are exclusively breastfed may also benefit from vitamin D supplements.
Vitamin D and COVID-19
While the jury remains out on precisely what is best to treat COVID-19, vitamin D hit the headlines as a potential way to manage the problem. A lack of vitamin D has been linked to the infection, and where people have suffered more severe reactions to the virus. There has been some suggestion that taking vitamin D supplements may also help to protect us at this time of pandemic. With vitamin D so widely available in supplement form, it is certainly something worth considering, and taking a recommended daily amount is unlikely to cause any adverse side effects.
Until recently, we thought that vitamin C was the most crucial factor when it came to colds and flu. While it is true that vitamin C does increase the function of the immune system, it has been shown that vitamin D can play a role in preventing flu. Again, in much the same way as the COVID-19 studies, nothing is set in concrete. Still, many people swear by taking an extra vitamin D supplement to remain healthy throughout the winter period.
Bone health is also important, and vitamin D helps the regulation in the body of calcium, and it maintains phosphorus levels in the blood. Both of these play an essential role in healthy bones. In children, a vitamin D deficiency can cause rickets which causes A bowlegged look, as the bones of the leg become softer. In adults, vitamin D deficiency can create osteomalacia, which is also a softening of the bones.
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