If you read my post about food intolerance and intolerance testing then you will know that I am Vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D deficiency is very common, our bodies make vitamin D from cholesterol when our skin is exposed to sunlight. This is all well and good while the sun in shining, but let’s face it – from about September onwards the UK is generally grey and overcast, which is why many of us Brits are deficient in this vital vitamin which supports healthy strong bones, teeth and muscle, heart health and plays a hugely important role in our immune system.
It’s not just the grim weather though – other risk factors for being low in vitamin D include diet, being elderly, always staying indoors and using sunscreen outdoors most of the time, and being overweight or obese.
So how can you tell if you need a boost?
Common signs of deficiency include:
Getting ill often
Lots of studies have shown a link between vitamin D deficiency and increased colds, bronchitis and pneumonia. This happened to me and it’s because the vitamin interacts with the cells responsible for fighting infection, and so if you find you’re catching everything going round, low levels may be to blame.
Tired all the time
This is a common complaint and another symptom I had, but vitamin D deficiency if often an overlooked cause of fatigue. Quite a lot of studies, both observational and case study-based, have identified low blood levels of the patient to be the cause of their persistent tiredness, and supplementation has been successful in boosting energy levels.
Studies have found relationships between chronic lower back pain in particular and a vitamin D deficiency. It’s thought this is due to its role in helping to maintain bone health. In one experiment, people with vitamin D deficiency were nearly twice as likely to experience bone pain in their legs, ribs or joints compared to those with blood levels in the normal range. Muscle pain can also be a symptom.
A large scientific review found that there is a link between low levels of vitamin D in the blood and depression. They went on to advise that taking a supplement could in some cases improve the disorder.
If you heal slower than normal after an injury for example, it could point to low levels of vitamin D. Research suggests that the vitamin helps with production of compounds that are crucial for new skin forming to heal a wound. Vitamin D’s role in inflammation control and infection fighting are also crucial for healing.
How to increase your Vitamin D
Clearly Vitamin D plays a huge role in your body and its important to maintain sufficient levels. So how do you ensure your that your Vitamin D levels are high enough? Levels can be tested by your GP, who will most likely recommend taking a supplement if your levels are in a low range.
My deficiency was picked up by my rheumatologist last year and she recommended that I take a supplement, I originally picked up capsules from Holland & Barrett but when I started working with my nutritionist she recommend switching over to Cytoplan plant-based capsules, which I have now been taking for three months. My fatigue has greatly improved, I don’t feel run down and have so much more energy!
Please note: I was not paid not any endorsement of products and you should always consult a doctor prior to taking any supplements.