Vitamin D deficiency: The ‘constant’ feeling which may indicate a deficiency
This Morning: Dr Chris discusses vitamin D and Covid
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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, however, the NHS says we do not make enough vitamin D from sunlight, so you need to get vitamin D from your diet. With more people staying indoors during the pandemic, some may have been deprived of vitamin D.
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.
Dietary vitamin D is available in foods such as oily fish, cod liver oil, red meat, fortified cereals, fortified spreads and egg yolks.
Over-supplementation of vitamin D, however, can be harmful and should be avoided.
The NHS says taking too many vitamin D supplements over a long period of time can cause too much calcium to build up in the body which can weaken the bones and damage the kidneys and the heart.
If you exceed the upper limit it can lead to feelings of nausea. Other signs you have taken too much include vomiting, muscle weakness, and loss of appetite.
The Cleveland Clinic says: “Do not take higher-than-recommended doses of vitamin D without first discussing it with your doctor.
“However, your doctor might recommend higher doses of vitamin D if he or she is checking your blood levels and adjusting your dose accordingly.
“Also, be cautious about getting large doses of vitamin A along with the D in some fish oils. Vitamin A can also reach toxic levels and can cause serious problems.”
Dr Joshua Berkowitz, founder of the IV Boost Clinic said: “Vitamin D is one of many vitamins essential for our health. It plays an important role in helping our bodies absorb calcium which is needed to form healthy bones.
“It also helps strengthen our immune system, fight off viruses and battle fatigue. Increasingly, it’s been linked to good mood – with a vitamin D deficiency associated with anxiety and depression.”
“Other common symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency are fatigue (a feeling of constant tiredness), always catching coughs and colds and aches and pains in muscles and joints.”
The NHS says a lack of vitamin D can lead to bone deformities such as rickets in children, and bone pain caused by a condition called osteomalacia in adults.
It adds: “There have been some reports about vitamin D reducing the risk of coronavirus (COVID-19).
“But there is currently not enough evidence to support taking vitamin D solely to prevent or treat COVID-19.”
It explains: “If you choose to take vitamin D supplements, 10 micrograms a day will be enough for most people.”
The doctor added: “The best food sources of vitamin D are Cod Liver Oil, oily fish such as trout and salmon and mushrooms.
“It’s also found in eggs, fortified cereals and low-fat dairy foods. You can see that vegetarians and vegans need to be particularly mindful of where their vitamin D comes from and supplementation is often recommended.
“Vitamin D is fat soluble and it is best absorbed and converted into active Vitamin D when taken into the body with food that contains fat.
“Supplementation of Vitamin D alongside our diet can be successful in boosting our levels. Not so long ago many people took Cod Liver Oil in capsules or liquid form but that seems to be less popular today,” he said.
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