Vitamin D deficiency can occur if a person isn’t getting all the vitamin D they need from sunlight. The body creates vitamin D from direct sunlight on the skin, but between October and early March people risk not getting enough with a change in the weather and shorter daylight hours. Vitamin D is an important vitamin as it helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body – essential nutrients for keeping bones, teeth and muscles healthy. If a person lacks vitamin D they can be at increased risk of bone deformities and bone pain caused by a condition called osteomalacia.
Research has suggested a deficiency in vitamin D can lead to symptoms of depression
Recognising the symptoms of vitamin D deficiency can help avoid these complications, but no all the signs associated with the condition are obvious.
Research has suggested a deficiency in vitamin D can lead to symptoms of depression – which can be difficult to spot.
Vitamin D receptors appear in a number of different brain tissues and contribute to nerve formation. Importantly, these receptors are found in areas of the brain that control mood.
Research has shown vitamin D may help to modulate levels of neurotransmitters such as serotonin (the happy hormone) within the brain. These play a pivotal role in the development of depression. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15589699)
Keeley Berry, nutritionist expert and new produce development executive at BetterYou, which specialises in vitamin D supplementation, said: “Our near complete reliance on sunlight to provide us with vitamin D is problematic and may be to blame for why deficiencies in vitamin D have become commonplace.
“Our modern diets and lifestyles, where time spent outdoors is not he decrease and the use of sun cream and cosmetics which include as SPF is on the increase, may also increase the likelihood of deficiency.
“If you find yourself suffering from low mood for prolonged periods of time or suspect that you may have a vitamin D deficiency, the first step would be to test your levels. You can do this by either visiting your GP or by using a quick and easy at-home testing service.
“Blood tests are the most accurate way to understand a person’s vitamin D status and allows for tailored supplementation recommendations based upon on the results.”
Keeley contained as our bodies react to each vitamin and mineral differently, each person will have a unique response to taking a supplement and the amount of time before you start to see a difference will vary.
Those with a deficiency can begin to feel a difference after just two weeks of supplementation, however significant benefits are experienced after one month.
Keeley advised: “I would recommend that those with inadequate levels of vitamin D, for example those deemed deficient or insufficient, re-test their levels after 12 weeks of supplementation to ensure levels have increased appropriately.”
While it is possible to obtain vitamin D from our diet, The Scientific Advisory Commission on Nutrition recently concluded that it is difficult to obtain adequate levels of this vital vitamin from natural sources alone.
As such, alternative strategies such as supplementation are becoming increasingly popular to ensure optimal health.
Keeley added: “When it comes to supplementation, traditional tablets and capsules don’t suit everybody and some of us can find them difficult to swallow. There are alternative methods of supplementation available, such as an intra-oral spray which provides effective and convenient absorption by delivering nutrients directly into the bloodstream, through the inner lining of the mouth.
“As vitamin D is fat soluble, it is perfectly suited to an oral spray delivery method as it relies on the bloodstream for transportation from the skin, to the liver and kidneys. The faster it can enter the bloodstream, the sooner the body can benefit from it.”
A full list of symptoms of depression can be found on the NHS website.
If you experience any of the symptoms you should see your GP.
Another sign of vitamin D deficiency may affect a person’s sleep.
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