I was in the gym recently and I may have listening to a group of ladies discussing being diagnosed with a Vitamin D deficiency. Most of us are deficient in certain minerals and vitamins as we can’t consume enough in our diet or through our daily lifestyle activities.
Vitamin D is also know as the ‘Sunshine Vitamin’ as it’s produced by the skin, in reaction to being exposed to it.
This vitamin plays an important role in maintaining your immune system, depression and most importantly it facilitates and regulates the absorption of calcium and phosphorus in the body.
What is vitamin D deficiency
Vitamin D deficiency has been variably defined by The IOM has defined a serum 25(OH)D concentration of 30nmol/L or less. However the general medical consensus is, a true definition and sufficiency is lacking. If you are referred for a blood test by a health care professional then your results and treatment are determined by the NICE guidelines. https://cks.nice.org.uk/vitamin-d-deficiency-in-adults-treatment-and-prevention#!scenario
Vitamin D deficiency (serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25 (OH) D)< 50 nmol/L or 20 ng/mL) is common in Europe and the Middle East. It occurs in< 20% of the population in Northern Europe, in 30–60% in Western, Southern and Eastern Europe and up to 80% in Middle East countries. In particular, elderly subjects are considered as a high-risk group due to low sun exposure and a decline in subcutaneous vitamin D synthesis capacity. There have been a number of studies recently looking at the ole of vitamin D deficiency in those who are obese and those who are in their adolescent years.
Signs and Symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency can include;
- Generalised aches and pains
- Stress Fractures
Factors that effect Vitamin D Levels
- Lack of exposure to sunlight
- Living in high polluted areas
- Having darker skin
How can you help your Vitamin D levels?
Most importantly, get outside! If you are sat at a desk throughout the day, go for a 30 minute walk in your lunch, evening or even before work (when it’s not dark!) Consuming Vitamin D rich food in your diet is next. If you have removed calcium based foods ie, cows milk and yoghurts, make sure you substitute with soya based products that have added Vitamin D in them. I have been told that you have to consume 1 pint of Soya milk a day to get the recommenced daily intake of calcium. If you have also removed animal based products from your diet then supplementing Vitamin D may be necessary or consume plenty of Tofu!
Animal Sources of Vitamin D include;
- Egg Yolks
Vegetable sources of Vitamin D include;
- Orange Juice
If you have any concerns in regards to your Vitamin D, please do not hesitate to contact a health care professional.
Current vitamin D status in European and Middle East countries and strategies to prevent vitamin D deficiency: a position statement of the European Calcified Tissue Society. Lips P,Cashman K D, Lamberg-Allardt C,Bischoff-Ferrari H A, Obermayer-Pietsch B Bianchi ML,Stepan J,Fuleihan, Bouillon R. Eur J Endocrinol 180, P23-54, 2019
Dietary intake and main food sources of vitamin D as a function of age, sex, vitamin D status, body composition, and income in an elderly German cohort. Alexandra Jungert, Andre Spinneker, Anja Nagel, and Monika Neuhäuser-Berthold. Food Nutr Res. 2014; 58: 10.3402/fnr.v58.23632.