Vitamin D deficiency can occur during this time of year because of shorter daylight hours and weaker UV rays from the sun. Recognising a deficiency in the vitamin is very important because left untreated, muscle weakness and fatigue can develop. Taking a vitamin D supplement can help keep your levels topped up. But to find out if you’re deficient in the first place, Holland & Barrett advises to look out for the following four symptoms.
The so-called happy hormone (serotonin) falls with lack of sun exposure, says the high street health store.
It adds: “If you feel low or irritable, it could be a sign.”
Because Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, any gut problem which affects your ability to absorb fat could also impact your Vitamin D levels.
It says: “Something to be aware of if you have IBD, Crohn’s, celiac, or gluten sensitivity.”
Achy bones and joints
A vitamin D deficiency can affect bone health which can result in a throbbing or achy feeling in your bones.
It explains: “This is often most noticeable in the knees and back.
“Those who don’t have enough of this important vitamin can develop rickets, osteoporosis, bone pain, and an increased risk of fractures.”
A sweaty scalp is a common sign of vitamin D deficiency.
It adds: “This is one reason newborn babes are monitored for head sweats. A sweaty scalp could be an early sign of vitamin D deficiency.”
If you begin to feel achy, fatigued, low and generally run down during the winter months, GP Dr Sarah Jarvis said you may want to consider taking a supplement.
She said: “Research suggests that taking a high quality vitamin D supplement has multiple benefits for the body and is not just essential for bones; there may also be benefits for the immune system. Vitamin D is actually a hormone and not a vitamin which is produced when skin is exposed to sunlight.
“Vitamin D receptors are found in virtually every cell in the human body and as a result, it plays a wide role in ensuring healthy cell growth and repair, the reduction of inflammation and healthy immune function.
“Take a high quality, vitamin D supplement to assist your body in building strong, healthy bones and to boost your immunity.”
Your body processes vitamin D when it metabolises fats, so an oil based supplement will help your body to easily and more effectively help absorb it.
Dr Jarvis added: “Take a high quality, oil-based vitamin D supplement such as Fultium Daily D3 to maintain healthy bones and muscles.”
Vitamin D can also be found in certain foods. The richest dietary sources are oily fish such as salmon, sardines, mackerel and fresh tuna.
Dr Sam Rodgers, General Practitioner and Medical Director of Medichecks, recommended some other vitamin D-rich foods you can eat to help avoid a deficiency.