Research from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) shows that around one in five children and about one in six adults in the UK have a vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin D helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body. These nutrients are needed to keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy.
A lack of vitamin D can lead to bone deformities such as rickets in children, and bone pain caused by a condition called osteomalacia in adults.
From late March to the end of September, most people should be able to make all the vitamin D they need from direct sunlight on the skin when outdoors. But between October and early March we do not make enough vitamin D from sunlight. To help increase the amount of vitamin D you are consuming you could look at food sources such as:
- oily fish (salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel)
- red meat
- egg yolks
- fortified foods – such as some fat spreads and breakfast cereals
Some people will not make enough vitamin D from sunlight because they have very little or no sunshine exposure. It’s recommended that adults and children over the age of 4 take a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D throughout the year if they:
- are not often outdoors – for example, if they’re frail or housebound
- usually wear clothes that cover up most of their skin when outdoors
- have dark skin – for example you have an African, African-Caribbean or south Asian background – you may also not make enough vitamin D from sunlight
You should consider taking a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D throughout the year.
Symptoms to look out for when it comes to lack of vitamin D include:
- bone pain
- muscle weakness, muscle aches, or muscle cramps
- mood changes such as depression
If you are suffering with any of the symptoms above and would like to speak to an expert you can book the same or next-day GP appointment at Pall Mall.