There are many nutrients we need to ensure we consume in our diets. Most can be found by having a varied and whole-food approach to the food we eat.
However it is more difficult to eat enough of the relevant foods to gain adequate vitamin D intake via the diet. Vitamin D is more appropriately called a steroid hormone because in the presence of sunlight, our body can synthesise vitamin D itself. Hence it is known as the “sunshine vitamin”.
In the UK, due to the lack of intensity of sunshine over the autumn and winter months. It is advised that a vitamin D supplement is taken. According to the NHS, 60% of the UK population are vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D is found in food (eggs, cheese, salmon, milk, mushrooms…) but you would need to eat a great deal of these foods to meet the advised requirements. Supplementing is also particularly important because as we age our bodies ability to manufacture vitamin D decreases.
The government directive advises a recommended dose of 10 micrograms (mcg) daily, which is seen as enough for most people however, additional advice is given to not take over 1000mcg a day. (In individual situations your GP may advise high doses and you should follow the advice you are offered.) Otherwise taking too much vitamin D over a long period could also be problematic. A condition called hypercalcaemia can develop. Which can have the effect of weakening the bones, and causing heart and kidney problems.
So this becomes yet another dilemma, what’s enough and what’s too much!? But there is a solution, if you choose to take away the guess work and test your vitamin D levels.
Rivermead Osteopaths can now offer a vitamin D test kit. This is an exciting opportunity to add a further way in which your musculoskeletal health can be supported via the clinic.
A simple pin-prick blood test can be performed at home, and posted to an independent and world-renowned laboratory. Results are returned alongside an informative report to support you moving forward.
Not only is this a great opportunity to assess your status right now, supplement or change dietary habits if needed. You could also re-test at a later date to ensure that sufficient action has been taken.
Right now is the perfect time to address any issues with vitamin D levels, ahead of the coming months with the loss of intensity in the sunshine, and the likely lessening of these levels in all of us.
Vitamin D has many important functions:
- It is involved in gene expression.
- It has a role in immunity.
- It is essential in supporting muscle, bone and teeth health.
Possible symptoms and signs that can sometimes relate to a lack of vitamin D are:
- Muscle pain.
- Bone pain.
- Increased sensitivity to pain.
- A tingly, “pins-and-needles” sensation in the hands or feet.
- Muscle weakness in body parts near the trunk of the body, such as the upper arms or thighs.
- Waddling while walking, due to muscle weakness in the hips or legs.
It is important to look after this aspect of our health, as problems in later life can occur if deficiency is ongoing. Vitamin D deficiency can cause rickets in children, osteomalacia in adults and excessive loss of bone density – osteoporosis.
If you need to supplement this important vitamin. Rivermead Osteopaths also recommends a vitamin D supplement called Zinoshine+. This is a naturally sourced vitamin D3 supplement, containing no “nasty” additives. It also contains magnesium which can support the actions of vitamin D in bone health and also performs multiple other important functions in the body. Including maintaining normal muscle and nerve function.