Everything You Need to Know About Vitamin D
Vitamin D is an essential vitamin that many people are deficient in. In fact, according to the NHS, one in five people have a vitamin D deficiency. But what exactly is vitamin D and why do we need it? More importantly, where can it be sourced and how can you top up your vitamin D levels if they are running low, whether this be through supplements, sunshine or a private doctor’s appointment. Read on to discover everything you have ever wanted to know about vitamin D.
What Exactly Is Vitamin D?
Unlike most other vitamins, vitamin D is actually a hormone that is produced when your body is exposed to the sun. If you do not have a lot of exposure to sunlight due to your location, you could find that your vitamin D levels are running low and this can cause a number of health issues. This essential vitamin can be split into two types and can be found in foods such as egg yolks, salmon, tuna, sardines and mushrooms. However, the simplest way to boost your vitamin D levels is to increase your sun exposure as the food that contains this vitamin only provides a very small dose.
Vitamin D Deficiency Symptoms and Benefits
So how can you tell if you are vitamin D deficient? The symptoms are often subtle and can take time to become apparent. If you have low levels of vitamin D you are at a greater risk of illnesses including dementia, cancer, heart disease and diabetes to name a few. Making sure you top up your vitamin D levels can help to prevent these diseases and also reduce symptoms of depression and increase physical strength. Vitamin D also helps to control the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body which is integral to bone and tooth health. If you think you could be vitamin D deficient, the only way to know is to visit your GP for a blood test.
Taking Vitamin D Supplements
The recommended daily dose of vitamin D is 10 micrograms per day according to Public Health England. If you live in an area where the sun shines year round, then you could simply make an effort to spend more time outdoors. However, if you live in an area that receives very little sunshine, a simple to way to get a daily dose of vitamin D is to take a supplement. This can help to ensure you are getting the amount that you need without having to make any major changes to your diet. While you can increase your vitamin D levels by eating more fish or eggs, these foods contain such a small amount that you would have to eat a large portion of them every day.
Vitamin D Overuse
While daily vitamin D supplements can improve your overall health, it is important to stick to the correct amount. Taking extremely high doses can lead to weakened bones, high blood pressure and kidney damage. Taking too much of this supplement can lead to vitamin D toxicity which is a build-up of calcium in the blood.
If you are unsure as to what you may be deficient in, book a blood test with our private GP today.