It’s vital that you maintain healthy levels of vitamin D in your body, as it’s such an important vitamin that does so much in terms of keeping our bodies healthy and strong. It’s often referred to as ‘the sunshine vitamin’ as its main source is from mild sun exposure, though it’s also found in many different foods and drink, and you can take supplements of it, too.
With studies showing record numbers of patients that are deficient in vitamin D, it’s important to look at those who may be at risk most.
When is a vitamin D deficiency most likely to occur?
As mentioned above, the main source of vitamin D is through sunlight. Therefore you may be at risk of vitamin D deficiency if:
- You don’t get enough sunlight; perhaps you spend most of your time indoors, use sun cream when it’s sunny, cover up outdoors due to religious reasons or live in a city with high amounts of pollution
However, a lacking of sun light is not the only reason you may be susceptible to vitamin D deficiency. Other factors include:
- If you follow a strict vegan diet, as most of the natural food or drink sources containing good levels of vitamin D come from animal products; including eggs, milk, meat and fish
- If you are a pregnant or breastfeeding woman
- Those with dark skin are more likely to have a vitamin D deficiency as they may have a decreased ability to synthesize vitamin D in response to sunlight
- People who are clinically obese are likely to have lower levels of vitamin D in their body because fat cells extract vitamin D from the blood
- Those who suffer with kidney or liver disease may have lower levels of vitamin D because these organs play a vital role in creating the biologically active form of vitamin D in the body
How do you know if you have a vitamin D deficiency?
Although these factors are known to mean that you’re more likely to suffer from a vitamin D deficiency, many people who don’t fit into these categories also find themselves with the deficiency. Therefore whether you think you are part of the above groups or not, it’s important that you know whether you are affected or not.
This can be done with a quick trip to your GP, whose first step will be to give you a blood test. They’ll then talk you through the stages of solving the problem.
Is a vitamin D deficiency easy to treat?
Fortunately, vitamin D deficiency is something that is pretty simple to treat, as it usually is just a matter of increasing your body’s intake of the vital vitamin. Adding vitamin D supplements to your daily routine is one of the simplest ways to improve the problem, and to get your levels back on track and healthy. This should be done under the guidelines of your GP as too much vitamin D in your diet can actually be toxic.a
Vitamin D Infographic presented by Cytoplan