Lorraine: Dr Amir says spine could shrink if deficient in vitamin D
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Vitamin D is also known as the “sunshine” vitamin. During the sunny months, your body is able to produce this vitamin from direct sunlight. However, due to the lack of sun in the UK around this time, you might want to consider other sources of vitamin D.
This common vitamin deficiency affects one in five adults in the UK, Heart UK reports.
Vitamin D assists your body in absorbing calcium and phosphorus from your diet.
The trio then helps to keep your bones, teeth and muscles healthy and strong.
And this isn’t the only role of the “sunshine” vitamins in your body.
One warning sign helping to spot vitamin D deficiency can be traced back to your mood.
According to Cleveland Clinic, mood changes and depression are among the common symptoms.
Experts have noticed that people who are depressed also suffer from low levels of the sunshine vitamin, the journal Current Drug Targets reports.
Some smaller-scale studies, published in the National Library of Medicine, noticed that some people saw improvements in their depression symptoms after taking vitamin D supplements.
However, larger research from The Journal of the American Medical Association found no significant link between depression and the “sunshine” vitamin.
Even though the lack of vitamin D might be hard to spot, depression and mood changes aren’t the only symptoms that may occur.
Other signs include:
- Bone pain
- Muscle weakness
- Muscle aches
- Muscle cramps.
How much vitamin D do I need?
During the sunny months, which is marked from late March till September, most people can synthesise this vitamin organically from the sun on their skin.
In general, anyone older than one year needs 10 micrograms of vitamin D daily.
There are also international units, IU for short, used for measuring vitamin D content.
If you prefer those, you’re looking for 400 IU to meet your daily target as this amount is the equivalent of 10 micrograms.
Sources of vitamin D
During the autumn and winter months, you might need to get the sunshine vitamin from different sources.
The Government recommends looking into supplementing vitamin D during this time.
If you decide to opt for this, sticking to 10 micrograms should do the trick, the NHS explains.
If supplements are not for you, there are also good food sources of this vitamin:
- Oily fish (salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel)
- Red meat
- Egg yolks
- Fortified foods (some fat spreads and breakfast cereals).
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