Winter is coming and with one in five adults and around one in six children reported to have low vitamin D levels in the UK, could you be one of them?
Here we look at the tell-tale signs that you may be deficient in the sunshine vitamin.
Vitamin D is vital for supporting bones and their structure. The nutrient helps regulate calcium – which is essential for maintaining strong teeth and bones – within the body. When you’re running low on vitamin D, your bones can weaken, increasing your risk of stress fractures.
As well as maintaining bones, Vitamin D supports normal muscle function. Poor muscle strength and weakness may be associated with vitamin D deficiency, which is common among elderly people because the capacity of the skin to synthesise the provitamin calcidiol decreases with age.
We rely on exposure to sunlight to absorb Vitamin D, so during the darker months of the year, depressive symptoms begin to appear. Lower levels of this this vital nutrient affect the serotonin (the happy hormone) concentration in the brain.
Constant coughs and colds
Experts suggest that vitamin D is vital to activating our immune defences, and that without sufficient intake of the vitamin our immune cells are unable to react appropriately.
Vitamin D is fat soluble nutrient, so if you suffer from a gastrointestinal condition that affects your ability to absorb fat, it will also affect your absorption of vitamin D.
Concerned about your vitamin D status?
If you’re worried about your vitamin D levels or if you don’t think you’re currently getting enough, you can quickly and easily found out your level with a blood spot test.