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Vitamin D: Sarah Jarvis discusses use in combatting COVID-19

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Vitamin D deficiency can lead to various health problems including bone deformities and pain. There are four warning signs that can help you spot this deficiency. The Government recommends looking into taking vitamin D supplements during winter. Here’s what’s the recommended daily amount.

Your body has the ability to create the “sunshine” vitamin from direct sunlight when spending time outdoors.

Even short periods in the sun with exposed skin can be sufficient to give you enough of it.

However, due to the lack of sunshine during winter, people are not able to synthesise this vitamin naturally.

There are also other reasons that can lead to vitamin D deficiency in certain people.

For example, if you are of African or south Asian background, you may not be able to make enough of this vitamin from sunlight, the NHS states.

Lack of vitamin D can be difficult to spot in adults but there are some symptoms.

According to Cleveland Clinic, these are the signs of vitamin D deficiency:

  • Fatigue
  • Bone pain
  • Muscle pain or weakness
  • Mood changes.

As vitamin D helps to keep the bones healthy in various ways, the lack of it can present in this area too.

Bone pain and lower back pain have been linked to this deficiency, azulfidine blutwerte according to the National Library of Medicine.

One smaller study found that people with lower back pain experienced increased pain severity due to lower levels of the “sunshine” vitamin.

Another research, published in the journal Public Health Nutrition, analysed 81 studies and noticed that people with arthritis and muscle pain tended to have lower levels of vitamin D.

When it comes to mood changes, Cleveland Clinic states that one sign can be depression.

A study, published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, linked vitamin D deficiency with depression in older adults.

Other studies have reported that supplementing vitamin D to people who are deficient helps improve seasonal depression, which typically occurs during the colder months when the body can’t synthesise enough of the vitamin organically. 

Although experts report a relationship between vitamin D and depression, more research is needed.


How much vitamin D do I need?

Anyone older than one year needs a dose of 10 micrograms per day, the NHS explains.

Vitamin D content is also often measured in International Units (IU).

One microgram of this vitamin is equivalent to 40 IU. So, your recommended daily intake is 400 IU.

If you need extra boost of this vitamin, There are supplements available as well as food sources including:

  • Oily fish (salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel)
  • Red meat
  • Liver
  • Egg yolks
  • Fortified foods (some fat spreads and breakfast cereals).

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