Less than one in fifty people are getting the amount of vitamin D their bodies’ need and the number of people showing signs of deficiency is growing.
Fresh research shows deficiency has swelled, with 98% of more than 1,000 people surveyed reporting at least three symptoms commonly linked to insufficient levels of vitamin D.
Of those likely to be deficient (five or more symptoms), only a quarter (28%) take a vitamin D supplement – highlighting a clear link between deficiency and supplementation.
Mental health symptoms have spiked, in those surveyed, with a 130% increase in depression and 65% rise inseasonal affective disorder (SAD) compared to when the same research was carried out three years ago.
And bone diseases, such as arthritis and osteoporosis are also on the rise, with a massive 154% increase.
These shocking figures come from our survey which was carried out in support of National Vitamin D Awareness Week, which aims to raise public awareness of the dangers of deficiency.
The findings confirm what we have long suspected, that our nation is far more deficient in vitamin D than we would care to admit.
98% of the 1027 people interview provided either classic symptoms of vitamin D deficiency of listed multiple lifestyle conditions which would predispose them to being deficient.
For example, 76% spend most of their daylight hours indoors. More than 40% use high factor suncream before entering the sun, and when people do venture outside, almost 60% cover up.
Our increasing indoor existence is a major factor in our vitamin D production.
These factors are simply impacting everyone’s vitamin D levels – meaning people are going into the winter with low levels, hence why so many people have so many symptoms associated with deficiency.
Other findings from the survey show that most (80%) often feel tired, with 67% saying they had less energy and muscle strength than they thought they should. This is a 40% rise on 3 years ago.
Half of people consider themselves to be overweight (51%) and two thirds suffer with aches and pains in bones and joints (67%).
The government are now starting to act, but the public needs to listen.
We are now hoping that the draft SACN (Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition) report will be approved and implemented soon, to limit the impact on the NHS through symptoms and diseases which could easily be avoided.
The report proposed that all people in the UK over the age of one supplement with vitamin D due to our minimal sunshine exposure from spending too much time indoors and cloudy weather conditions.
The SACN reported that;
- There are two sources of vitamin D in the UK, exposure to sunlight (skin synthesis) and diet – skin synthesis is the main source for most people
- There are few naturally rich food sources of vitamin D, the report estimates that most people only get around five micrograms from their diets
- A reference nutrient intake (RNI) for vitamin D of 10 µg/d is proposed for the whole UK population aged four and over throughout the year.
National Vitamin D Awareness Week runs every October in the run up to the clocks going back. For more information visit www.vitamindawarenessweek.co.uk