Shortest day of the year: Vitamin D deficiency warning – the key symptoms
Winter solstice: Met Office explains what happens
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Today is the symbolic ‘death’ of the sun – also known as the Winter Solstice – when we get the fewest hours of sunlight. If you’re not taking a vitamin D supplement yet, now is the time to start. This all-important vitamin is credited with giving you strong bones, lifting your mood and boosting your immune system: what are the signs your levels of the so-called sunshine vitamin need topping up?
The NHS recommends everyone in the UK to take a vitamin D supplement throughout the months of the year with the least sunlight.
This is because your body naturally creates vitamin D from sunlight, however during the autumn and winter in the UK, daylight isn’t strong enough for you to create this vital vitamin.
Today is the Winter Solstice, meaning it is the day of the year the UK gets the least amount of sunlight possible, so it’s extra important to get your vitamin D by other means.
Some foods are rich in vitamin D, but it’s very difficult to get all the vitamin D you need from your diet.
It can be more convenient to take a daily supplement, this way you know exactly how much vitamin D you’re getting.
The NHS says between late March and the end of September, you should be able to get all the vitamin D you need from sunlight.
Why do you need vitamin D?
Vitamin D contributes to your overall health by boosting your immune system, but there are some key areas vitamin D can help with.
Vitamin D improves your:
- Bone health
- Can help manage blood sugar
- Can reduce risk of heart disease
- Can help with weight loss
Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency
Vitamin D deficiency is thought to be common in the UK, with an estimated one in five adults not getting enough of the ‘sunshine vitamin’.
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Three key signs you aren’t getting enough vitamin D are:
Getting sick often
Vitamin D helps keep your immune system in top shape, so if you’re picking up colds and bugs often it could be down to a lack of vitamin D.
Feeling tired all the time
If you’re feeling particularly exhausted, it could be down to a lack of vitamin D.
Research has shown vitamin D deficiency can leave you feeling knackered, and stop you from getting a good night of sleep.
Bone and back pain
One of vitamin D’s most important functions is keeping your bones strong and healthy, so if you’re not getting enough you might notice feeling pain in your bones, including in your back.
Vitamin D deficiency can also lead to decreased bone density, making you more likely to fracture a bone.
A lack of vitamin D may also leave you experiencing:
- Depression or anxiety
- Hair loss
- Muscle pain
- Slow-healing wounds
- Weight gain
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