Vitamin D is known as the "sunshine vitamin" and low levels of vitamin D are often overlooked as an ongoing cause of fatigue and exhaustion. Vitamin D is essential for bone health. Deficiencies lead to thin, brittle or misshapen bones, rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults. Vitamin D helps to protect against osteoporosis, alongside a calcium rich diet and weight bearing exercise.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin and is made from the ultraviolet rays of the sun as it strikes the skin - triggering vitamin D synthesis. It is also found in small amounts in foods such as egg yolks and fatty fish. Unfortunately, even on the sunniest of days during the Autumn and Winter, vitamin D can not be absorbed. The angle of the earth means that the ultraviolet rays needed for it`s synthesis just can`t get to us.
As Vitamin D is a fat - soluble vitamin, those people who have lower levels of digestive enzymes or conditions that affect fat absorption are more likely to have lower levels of vitamin D (along with Vitamins A, E and K). This can also be the case withe certain conditions that affect the intestines such as Crohn`s and coeliac disease.
Once vitamin D has been absorbed from either food sources or from the sun, it needs to be converted to it`s active form by two processes. The first is in the liver and the second is in the kidneys.
Low levels of Vitamin D
Low levels of vitamin D are common, especially during the winter. Symptoms include:
poor immune system - frequent infections
Impaired wound healing
Causes of Low Vitamin D
Dark skin - it is more difficult for darker skinned people to synthesise Vitamin D
Having a genetic mutation
Being an elderly individual
Low intake of vitamin D foods
Living in a country far from the equator
Diet to improve vitamin D
If your levels have dropped very low then it is important to supplement until you have regained your Vitamin D status. After that, try to eat foods rich in vitamin D such as:
Vitamin D enhanced mushrooms - 5 mushrooms - 943.2 IU Vit D Salmon fillets - 125g - 657.5 IU Vit D Egg - 1 egg yolk - 36.21 IU Vit D
Thrive Clinical Nutrition and Naturopathic Health Eve Morley BA hons. NT. FNTP. AMNNA. Soc Nat
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