Dr Ellie on why people should be taking Vitamin D supplements

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Furthermore, Nebraska Health says a vitamin D deficiency can cause a range of symptoms, that it can even lower the quality of your sleep.

The health care provider’s Doctor Mindy Lacey said: “Most patients with vitamin D deficiency are asymptomatic, however if you’re exhausted, your bones hurt, you have muscle weakness or mood changes, that’s an indication that something may be abnormal with your body.”

Other examples of symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency include:
• Fatigue
• Bone pain or achiness
• Depression or feelings of sadness
• Hair loss
• Muscle weakness
• Loss of appetite
• Getting sick more easily
• Pale skin.

She added: “If any of these symptoms sound familiar, see your primary care provider. They may do a test to check your levels of vitamin D.”

What should I do if I’m deficient?

If you are diagnosed as deficient in vitamin D or believe you are, you should consult with your GP.

If you are confirmed as deficient, then there are multiple ways to boost your levels including through supplementation and food.

Foods high in vitamin D include:
• Oily fish
• Red meat
• Liver
• Egg yolks
• Fortified foods.

With regards to how much vitamin D someone should take, the NHS say adults should take a maximum of a 4,000IU (100 micrograms) of vitamin D per day.

If you overdose on vitamin D, this can also have consequences.

On this scenario, the NHS writes: “Taking too many vitamin D supplements over a long period of time can cause too much calcium to build up in the body (hypercalcaemia).

“This can weaken the bones and damage the kidneys and the heart. If you choose to take vitamin D supplements, 10 micrograms a day will be enough for most people. Do not take more than 100 micrograms (4,000 IU) of vitamin D a day as it could be harmful.

“This applies to adults, including pregnant and breastfeeding women and the elderly, and children aged 11 to 17 years. If your doctor has recommended you take a different amount of vitamin D, you should follow their advice.”

While you can overdose on vitamin D through taking too many supplements, it is not possible to overdose through sunlight.

The reason vitamin D is referred to as the sunshine chemical is because during the spring and summer our bodies produce vitamin D from sunlight.

During the autumn and winter, we cannot produce enough vitamin D this way. It is for this reason that the Government and NHS urge people to boost their levels through dietary and supplementary means.

Vitamin D received a lot of attention in the early part of the pandemic as it was believed to be able to combat COVID-19.

However, while this provided a lot of hope, multiple studies showed vitamin D had no impact on COVID-19 outcomes.

Despite this, vitamin D is not an unessential player as correct levels of it can strengthen the immune system against seasonal bugs.

While it is effective, this is not to say it is the most effective vitamin.

Everything requires balance and vitamin D, in combination with a balanced diet of other vitamins and regular exercise, is the best way to remain healthy this winter.

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