Vitamin D is an essential vitamin that helps to regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body. This naturally occurring vitamin can be sourced from sunlight, which is why it is often referred to as the “sunshine vitamin”.
However, vitamin D deficiencies become more common during the winter months in the UK due to the lack of strong rays from the sun, and fewer hours of sunlight at this time.
According to the NHS: “During the autumn and winter, you need to get vitamin D from your diet because the sun is not strong enough for the body to make vitamin D.”
Ensuring you get enough of this nutrient can help to keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy.
The NHS warns: “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.”
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What other symptoms are there of a vitamin D deficiency?
According to Livi, some of the other most common symptoms include:
- Getting illnesses or infections more often
- Feeling tired or fatigued
- Hair loss
- Muscle pain
- Depression or low mood
- Wounds that heal slowly following surgery, infection or injury
Can I take vitamin D supplements?
In some cases, your GP may recommend that you take vitamin D supplements in order to up your daily intake.
Supplements can be an easy way of boosting levels, but it is important you do not take too much.
The NHS states: “Since it’s difficult for people to get enough vitamin D from food alone, everyone (including pregnant and breastfeeding women) should consider taking a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D during the autumn and winter.”
Children from the age of one year and adults need 10 micrograms of vitamin D a day.