Your Doctor

The Sunshine Vitamin

Vitamin D 

It’s not a pill, but that big star in the sky (also known as the sun) gives us the most wonderful things. One of them is vitamin D, along with endorphins, a nice tan and that feel good factor.

What is vitamin D?

It is vital to have enough stores of this little mineral to help our bodies absorb and mineralise calcium and phosphate within bones. The combination promotes bone growth, of course essential for our growing sprogs but also as adults there are consequences of too little. The right combinations of these vitamins are essential to keep our bones, teeth and muscles healthy and strong.

Too little vitamin D in children can cause rickets (fragile, misshapen bones) and in adults osteomalacia.

What are the signs and symptoms of vitamin D deficiency?

• Aching joints and bones

• Difficulty walking up steps or rising from a chair

• Stress fractures of the hips/pelvis or legs

• Generally not feeling well

• Lethargy

Who is at risk of vitamin D deficiency?

• Those with darker skin (as the melanin reduced absorption)

• Those who cover up whenever outdoors

• Frail or housebound people who are unable to get outdoors easily

How do you obtain vitamin D?

As mentioned earlier, it is the sunshine drug. Getting outside between late March/September will allow your body to naturally absorb vitamin from direct sunlight. As the British winter sets in low light levels means we are all at risk of dropping out levels of vit D.

Several foods contain natural sources of vitamin D. These include:

Oily fish, red meat, liver, egg yolks and some fortified foods such as fat spreads and some breakfast cereals.

How much vitamin D do you need?

This varies dependent on age.

Adults may benefit from taking around 800-1000iU per day in the winter months, those tested and falling into the ‘insufficient’ range need it daily throughout the year. If you fall into the ‘deficient’ range you will need to see your doctor for a high dose regime.

Children need varying doses dependent on age. Supplements for adults and under 5’s can be bought over the counter in pharmacies.

If you are concerned about your vitamin D levels, or simply want some advice on supplements, contact us to make an appointment.

Vitamin D blood tests available from £113.75*

15 minute appointment £69.99

*Appointment fee chargeable in addition to blood test fee