Dubai: Known as the sunshine vitamin, it is estimated that we need about 30 minutes of exposure to the sun every day to produce enough vitamin D to keep us healthy. The symptoms of vitamin D are subtle and you may not suspect how much a lack of vitamin D affects your moods.
The only way to know for sure if you are deficient is to have a blood test by your GP. Ocean grown fatty-fish is one of the richest sources of vitamin D. It is important to check the fish has been sourced from the ocean as many supermarkets are farmed and therefore don’t receive natural food sources.
Currently, Waitrose, Marks & Spencer, and the Co-op have good sustainable aquaculture policies to improve the sustainability of farmed fish.
Doctor Marilyn Glanville said: “Those most at risk of vitamin D deficiency are those who do not go out much the daytime, those who do not expose their skin to the sunlight, and women who constantly wear make-up or cosmetics with in-built sun protection factors.
Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency:
- Getting sick often
- Fatigue and tiredness
- Bone and back pain
- Wounds that don’t heal quickly
- Bone loss
- Hair loss
“The tone of your skin affects Vitamin D production, so the darker your skin the less your body produces vitamin D.” Vitamin D deficiency is a common problem today and many chronic diseases are often associated with low vitamin D.
For many people, taking a vitamin D supplement may be the best way to ensure adequate intake. Research suggests that D3 may be significantly more effective at raising and maintaining overall vitamin D levels than D2.
Why does vitamin D deficiency occur?
There are several reasons for an adult to have reduced vitamin D levels, including:
Increasing age – the skin’s ability to produce vitamin D declines over time
Reduced exposure to the sun – your body only produces vitamin D when your skin is exposed to sunlight
Having darker skin – skin tone affects the amount of vitamin D produced when in the sun, with fair-colored skin producing it easier than darker skin
Lack of vitamin D in the diet – although very few foods naturally contain vitamin D, many are fortified with it
Health conditions that affect how well your body absorbs or processes vitamin D, including Chron’s disease, celiac disease, ulcerative colitis, cystic fibrosis, obesity, and chronic kidney or liver disease
Some medications and medical procedures, such as laxatives, steroids, drugs are taken to treat high cholesterol, seizures, or tuberculosis, as well as gastric bypass surgery
“It’s important to address low vitamin D levels, but doing so requires working with your doctor to develop an effective, safe treatment plan. While reduced exposure to the sun can be a source of lower vitamin D levels.
Increasing sun exposure is not recommended as a source of vitamin D since this can increase your lifetime risk of developing skin cancer,” warns Dr. Brown. Additionally, he points out that overdoing it and taking in too much vitamin D can also be harmful to your health.