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Vitamin D deficiency: Symptoms to look out for

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The warning signs for vitamin D deficiency aren't always obvious. If you're not feeling yourself, especially in the winter months, then you might be deficient in vitamin D.

Vitamin D is vital for the human body to function

It has a whole host of benefits including; keeping our bones healthy, boosting your immune system, and ensures maintenance of normal muscle function, lowering blood pressure, combatting neurological disorders including depression and seasonal affective disorder, improving sports performance, lowering the risk of diabetes and possibly dementia.

Why you might be vitamin D deficient

Though you can get some vitamin D through food, most of it will come from the sun. During the winter, our bodies are less exposed to UVB rays and therefore sometimes won't be able to get enough. Some people who are deficient in vitamin D notice:

Weakened immune system

During the winter, if you're catching every cold that comes along one of the reasons for this could be due to vitamin D deficiency. Your seasonal outbreaks could be due to lower levels of vitamin D and melatonin in the body because of less exposure to sunlight. These lower levels can comprise the immune system, making us far more likely to develop those niggling colds during winter.1

Worsening asthma

Studies have shown that low levels of vitamin D could make asthma worse.2 Low levels of vitamin D can affect lung function and patient's responses to treatments. Adding a vitamin D supplement to your routine could help you breathe easier this winter.

Muscle weakness, bones aches and joint pain

If your legs feel heavy, notice difficulty getting out of your chair or are generally feeling weak this could be due to lack of vitamin D in the body affecting your muscles 3 and bones. Being deficient can lead to bone deformities including rickets in children and joint pain and tenderness, muscle weakness and pain in the spine, ribs, shoulder or pelvis in adults, due to a condition called osteomalacia (soft bones). If you play sport it's essential to keep your vitamin D levels topped up to maintain performance.

Low mood and irritability:

One of the most talked about symptoms of vitamin D deficiency is feeling low or possibly displaying symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). To keep calm this winter exercise, a healthier diet and mindfulness techniques can be useful ways to keep your mood in check.

To combat deficiency the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends that all adults in the UK take a daily supplement containing 400IU (10mcg) of vitamin D throughout the year.

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