What is vitamin D?
Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin. We can absorb vitamin D from the sun, however many of us are deficient in it. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin available through ultra violet rays, some foods and supplements.
What are the health benefits of vitamin D?
Vitamin D helps regulate calcium and phosphate in the body which are crucial for bone and muscle health. That’s why people who are deficient in vitamin D are more likely to develop osteoporosis. vitamin D also is important for facilitating a normal immune function.
In addition to these primary benefits, vitamin D may also play a role in the following:
- Reducing your risk of multiple sclerosis
- Decreasing the chance of developing a heart condition
- Reducing your likelihood of developing the flu
- Regulating mood and improving symptoms of depression
- Aid in weight loss
- Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency
The symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency in adults include tiredness, aches and not feeling well in general. Sometimes people with this deficiency also experience bone and muscle pain or weakness. Stress fractures, especially in the legs, pelvis and hips can occur.
A vitamin D deficiency is diagnosed by performing a blood test. Please contact your health professional if you are concerned that you may have a vitamin D deficiency.
Food sources of vitamin D
Unfortunately, very few food contain vitamin D naturally. These are salmon, sardines, egg yolks and shrimp. Because of this, many foods have been fortified (vitamin D has been added. Commonly fortified foods are milk, cereal, yogurt and orange juice.
Vitamin D supplements
Taking supplements can be helpful for some people at risk of deficiency. If you think you have a vitamin D deficiency, talk to your medical professional before taking supplements.
Vitamin D gummies are becoming popular however, they don’t work as well as vitamin D pills because often they contain inconsistent levels of nutrients. They also degrade faster.
Vitamin D is measured in micrograms. This is to replace international units (IU) to metric units for fat soluble vitamins (A, D and E).
Covid and vitamin D
Some studies have shown an association between vitamin D and covid outcomes. However, this evidence is observational. This means looking at what happens to those with higher vitamin D levels compares to those with lower levels. There is simply not yet enough evidence.