Most people get 90% of their Vitamin D requirements through exposure to sunlight, but winter and recent lock-down measures mean people are getting less sun – and less vitamin D – than before. Fortunately, there are plenty of other ways to get the vitamins you need for a healthy lifestyle, from changing your diet to taking vitamin D supplements.
In boring chemical terms, vitamin D helps regulate the amount of phosphate and calcium in the body, both of which are central to bone strength and the immune system. Interestingly, a growing body of research shows that a vitamin d deficiency can be linked to heart disease, cancer, depression, arthritis and more.
While it’s easy to get enough calcium and phosphate in your diet (especially if you eat plenty of meat and dairy), you need to keep them within safe levels with vitamin D. If you aren’t able to restore vitamin D levels from sunlight or your diet, then you may be at greater risk from a vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin D is an extremely important vitamin with powerful benefits, but it can be hard to get enough in your daily routine, especially when wrapped up warm over winter. For these reasons, a vitamin D deficiency is one of the most common forms of malnutrition across the world but – thankfully – they can be cured with vitamin D supplements.
Aside from a general meh feeling, symptoms of low vitamin D levels can include fatigue, muscle pain and regular periods of sickness. If you’re struggling to get out of bed or coming down with the sniffles more than usual, it could be nothing, but keep an eye out for the following 8 symptoms of vitamin D deficiency:
If you’ve noticed any of the following symptoms, you may be suffering from low levels of vitamin D, but we advise consulting a medical professional to be sure. If you’re otherwise healthy, you can still enjoy the benefits of vitamin D by incorporating these sources of the vitamin into your routine.
However, supplements aren’t right for everyone, and if you’ve managed to avoid a vitamin D deficiency so far, then you might just be pouring your money down the toilet. Before raiding your local pharmacy, consider the following:
As the main source of vitamin D is sunlight, many people are deficient in the vitamin – as many as 40% of Americans according to national surveys – and could benefit from supplements. Vitamin D deficiency is one of the most common vitamin deficiencies in the world but most people lacking this vitamin will only suffer mild symptoms.
We know it’s boring, but you should probably get some medical advice before you start loading up on vitamin D, as you can get too much of a good thing. Although vitamin D overdoses are extremely rare – you’d have to take something like 40 times the recommended dosage – you should get professional guidance before adding high-strength supplements to your daily routine.
Because of the many benefits that vitamin D offers and the low risk of overdosing, we believe that vitamin D supplements would be beneficial for most adults as part of a healthy lifestyle. Additionally, we recommend that you try to get more time in the sun and fish suppers for general health, though it might take some time before you see any effects.
Unfortunately, there’s no definite answer on how quickly vitamin D takes effect on the body, as various factors like dosage and existing vitamin D levels affect the speed of absorption. If you’re battling a serious vitamin D deficiency, then it could take a month of daily supplements before you start to feel normal again.
If you use higher doses and are looking for a noticeable improvement in health, we recommend taking a consistent dose of vitamin D supplements and monitoring your well being for a month. This may seem like a long time, but it will take a while for your body to properly absorb the vitamin D before it can put it to use, so be patient!
Whether you’re feeling down or want to boost your general health with some extra vitamins, supplements are an easy way to get more essential nutrients into your busy schedule. Hopefully this little guide has helped shine a light on ‘the sunshine vitamin’ and inspired you to eat more oily fish before your hike in the sunshine.
What’s that? You’d rather relax on the couch with your favorite snack than work sardines into your diet? Fair enough, it takes all kinds to make the world go round, but we hope you’re getting enough vitamin D, however you choose to take it…