What is vitamin D?

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is made when the skin is exposed to sunlight. It helps the body absorb calcium from food and supplements to support the maintenance of healthy bones cells. Apart from this it plays a role in the immune system, reduces inflammation, regulates blood pressure and supports cardiovascular health. 

What causes vitamin D deficiency? 

  • Being indoor – less or no exposure to sunlight
  • Pollution – can absorb some of the sun's rays, so reducing scope to make vitamin D.
  • Using large quantities of sunscreen - block vitamin D producing UV rays
  • Darker skin - need more sunlight exposure to absorb enough vitamin D.
  • Diet - not eating foods rich in vitamin D.
  • Liver or kidney disease -tend to have lower vitamin D levels.

What are the symptoms of vitamin D deficiency?

Many people with a vitamin D deficiency may have no symptoms or may go many years without experiencing any symptoms. The symptoms of vitamin D deficiency can be vague, some of them are chronic pains, thinning or brittle bones, changes in mood, high or rising blood pressure, 

Strategies for increasing vitamin D levels:

Increase exposure to natural sunlight: The risks of sun exposure might be greater than the risks of vitamin D deficiency for people vulnerable to sunburn, with a history of skin cancer, or with very pale skin. They should talk to a doctor about whether spending more time in natural light is a good idea or not. 

Eat foods rich in vitamin D: Fatty fish such as tuna, salmon, and mackerel, as well as fish liver oils, are excellent natural sources. Beef liver, cheese, and egg yolks contain small quantities of vitamin D. Milk is fortified with vitamin D, as are many cereals.

Take a vitamin D supplement:These are readily available over the counter. A doctor may also prescribe a supplement or multivitamin. For most adults, the recommended dietary allowance(RDA) for adults is 800 IU. For children under 12 months, it is 400 IU.