Vitamin D: Are you getting enough?

Vitamin D: Are you getting enough?

Posted by Anthony Lawrence on

Vitamin D: Are you getting enough?

With our immune systems taking a battering the last few years we thought it would be a good idea to bring up a deficiency that we are seeing more and more signs of over the last few months, Vitamin D deficiency.

We have laid out some things for you to to keep in mind so that you can identify any possible issues with yourself and have some direction if action is needed.

What are the signs and symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency:

- Frequent infections or illnesses.
- Fatigue and muscle weakness. Because vitamin D is key to bone health, an insufficient amount can cause bone and muscle weakness, which can lead to fatigue.
- Bone and joint pain.
- Easy fractures.
- Depression or constant low mood.
- Slow wound healing.
- Development of autoimmune disease

The two most common causes of deficiency is diet and reduced sun exposure or in some cases resistance to vitamin D absorption. Vitamin D is also made by the body when skin is exposed to sunlight. This accounts for approximately 90% of our total vitamin D, with only 10% coming from food.

With the reduction of sun due to things like cloud cover or excessive rain, it is important to understand that the weather will directly affect your Vitamin D intake and our immune systems by default.

Our skin has the greatest amount of surface area to take up Vitamin D so getting in it frequently for small periods of time is important. 

Supplementation is important in instances when Sun exposure is reduced. Darker coloured skin will find it hard to absorb Vitamin D as efficiently as lighter skin pigments. Darker skin is more resistant to the Sun and as such find it harder to sufficient amounts of Vitamin D. 

When looking at foods and supplementation that provides dosage for Vitamin D often values are given in IU (International Units).

When this is the case remember that 1 mcg = 40 IU for Vitamin D. The standard recommended dose of Vitamin will be between 5 mcg (200 IU) and 15 mcg (600 IU), which is considered low but safe. When considering oral supplements only have an approximate uptake of about 60% it is important to increase this dose up to meet individual needs and circumstances. 

In the event of autoimmune diseases it is recommended that this amount be even higher again than the recommended amount. 

Continually taking high doses of vitamin D supplements can cause vitamin D toxicity. A condition called hypercalcaemia (where there is too much calcium in your blood) is the most common condition that results from taking too much vitamin D. Signs of this condition include nausea, dehydration and constipation

Because Vitamin D is an immune modulator it is really important in getting enough of it to keep our immune system strong. There are Vitamin D receptors in almost every immune cell in the body. 

While supplements can help meet our needs it is recommended to get most of our vitamin D from the sun itself. Aiming for 20 minutes of open exposure to the sun on our body will greatly improve the bodies intake of vitamin D. 

To answer the question, are you getting enough Vitamin D? We simply need to assess our situation as an individual. 

Am I constantly getting sick? 
Am I continually feeling fatigued? 
Do i have muscle weakness? 
Am I experiencing unexplained bone and or joint pain?
Do I fracture my bones easily? 
Am I experiencing depression or constant low moods?
Do my wounds take a long time to heal? 
Could my skin colour be more resistant to the sun?
Have I been exposed to sunlight recently? 

If you answered yes to more than one of these questions, chances are you are not getting enough Vitamin D. 

We hope this information serves you well. 

Anthony 


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