Introduction to Vitamin D 20 Nov 2020At this time of year, especially living in the UK, we are very aware of the long grey days and how this can lead to a Vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D is known as "the sunshine vitamin" because all it takes is 15 minutes in the sun for a fair skinned person to create 10,000 to 20,000 iu of Vitamin D. My reason for writing this series of blog articles on Vitamin D is that more and more scientific evidence is coming to light about the impact of a Vitamin D deficiency. More than 1 billion people worldwide are estimated to be deficient in vitamin D due to limited sunshine exposure. Researches have pointed out that raising levels of Vitamin D among the general population could prevent chronic diseases that claim nearly 1 million lives throughout the world each year. So how do you know if you are short of Vitamin D? You can have a blood test ideally in January (when your vitamin D levels will be at their lowest) and July (when they are likely to be at their highest) so you see if you are deficient. Apart from blood tests there are other signs:
- You have dark skin - Those of Afro-Caribbean descent you are at greater risk of vitamin D deficiency as you need 10 times more sun exposure than fair skinned people to produce the same amount of vitamin D.
- You feel blue
- Your 50 or older - The older you get your skin doesn't makes as much vitamin D in response to sun exposure and your kidneys are less efficient at converting vitamin D into the form used by your body.
- Your overweight or obese - vitamin D is fat-soluble, hormone like vitamin which means body facts act like a sink collecting it, so you are likely to need more vitamin D than someone who is their ideal weight.
- Your bones ache - especially when in combination with fatigue.
- Head sweating - years ago Doctors used to ask mothers about head sweating in newborns as it was a clear indicator of vitamin D deficiency.
- You have gut trouble - as mentioned previously vitamin D is fat soluble so if you have a gut condition e.g. Crohn's, Celiac, gluten sensitivity, IBS that affects your ability to absorb fat you may have a lower absorption of fat-soluble vitamins including vitamin D.