Lorraine: Dr Amir says spine could shrink if deficient in vitamin D
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A lack of vitamin D is termed a vitamin D deficiency, and can lead to bone deformities such as rickets in children, and several conditions in adults. If you are spending a lot of time indoors, the NHS suggests you should take 10 micrograms of vitamin D a day to keep your bones and muscles healthy.
Falling short of the required amount could weaken immune defences, and if low levels are left untreated discomfort may also arise.
Nataly Komova, a nutritionist expert for JustCBD, says that signs of vitamin D deficiency can be varied.
She notes that vitamin D is an essential nutrient in the body, and a lack of it can lead to excessive fatigue and tiredness which can affect the quality of life.
The expert also notes that “surprising” signs of a lack of vitamin D in the body can include mood changes “accompanied by overwhelming feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and forgetfulness”.
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She suggests it can contribute to a loss of interest in activities that previously brought excitement to your life.
“Research indicates that lack of vitamin D in the body is linked with anxiety disorders. Most people with anxiety symptoms were reported to have lower calcidiol levels, a byproduct of vitamin D breakdown,” Nataly notes.
It can also cause poor regulation of hair growth and lead to “poor sleep quality and severe fatigue”.
You may also notice bone pain and lower back pain, or slow or impaired wound healing after surgery or infections.
She adds that some people experience low bone mineral density-bone loss, increased chronic pain and muscle pain. You may also spot increased risk of weight gain.
Dietary vitamin D is available in foods such as oily fish, cod liver oil, red meat, fortified cereals, fortified spreads and egg yolks.
In April 2020, the NHS issued a statement, based on recommendations from Public Health England (PHE), that we should all consider taking 10 mcg/day vitamin D as a supplement, to keep our bones and muscles healthy.
This advice has been issued now, largely because of the restrictions imposed by quarantine and lockdown.
Nonetheless, the NHS says that in summer months, the majority of the population will get enough vitamin D through exposure to sunlight and a healthy, balanced diet.
Between October and early March the health body says we do not make enough vitamin D from sunlight, so you need to get vitamin D from your diet.
Around 20 percent of adults may have low vitamin D status, and there are several main risk factors for vitamin D deficiency.
The NHS says risk factors include a lack of sunlight exposure, darker skin, being housebound, malabsorption, and being pregnant or breastfeeding.
You cannot get too much vitamin D from sunshine because your skin limits the amount of vitamin D it makes.
If you or someone you care for is in a higher risk group they may need to take Vitamin D supplements.
You can take Vitamin D supplements as tablets, liquid or a spray, and they can be bought in a pharmacy.
“There is currently not enough evidence to support taking vitamin D solely to prevent or treat COVID-19,” the NHS says.
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