Everyone is talking about vitamin D at the moment and its potential in helping to fight against viruses. Nevertheless, a vitamin D deficiency can still be extremely common for many different reasons.
For years the UK Government has recommended that people consider taking a vitamin D supplement during the winter months. However, with the latest media frenzy surrounding vitamin D, people are becoming more aware of just how important it can be as an everyday vitamin. So much so, that English and Scottish authorities have even started to provide free vitamin D supplies to those shielding during the pandemic.
Who might have a vitamin D deficiency?
Around 1 billion people worldwide are said to be deficient in vitamin D according to a study published on The National Center for Biotechnology Information. There are a few key groups of people that may be more at risk of a vitamin D deficiency and may want to consider taking a supplement. (1)
Those with low or no exposure to the sun
Our main source of vitamin D is from the sun. This is because we produce vitamin D in our skin when exposed to the UV light. However, due to typical lack of sunlight in the UK and Europe and especially during the autumn and winter months, our bodies can be deprived of natural vitamin D.
Those with darker skin
Melanin, which causes skin pigmentation, lowers the skin's ability to make vitamin D. Studies have found that adults with darker skin may be at a higher risk of a vitamin D deficiency. (2)
People over 65 years of age
Older people can also often be advised to take vitamin D supplements for stronger and healthier bones, and since they may not get as much exposure to natural sunlight outside.
Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers
Those that are pregnant or breastfeeding may be recommended to supplement with vitamin D. This can be for a number of reasons, such as to prevent the baby from developing vitamin D deficiency and to help keep both mother and baby’s bones healthy.
As vitamin D helps to regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body which are needed to keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy, young children from six months to five years old may be advised to take vitamin D3 supplements.
Vitamin D deficiency symptoms
The following symptoms could potentially be a sign of a vitamin D deficiency:
1. Bone and muscle pain
Vitamin D can help maintain healthy muscles and nerves, which is why lack of the vitamin can lead to increased risk of weak muscles and muscle pain. That is why many people - especially those that are older - may opt to supplement with D3 to support strong muscles and nerves.
As vitamin D also helps our bodies absorb calcium and reduces excretion of calcium, it also plays a crucial role in supporting our bones and teeth. Our bones may become depleted if our calcium intake is insufficient, so keeping up optimum levels of vitamin D3 plays an important part in the maintenance of healthy bones.
2. Poor immunity
Vitamin D’s immune supporting properties have been making headlines recently with its involvement in the upcoming ‘Coronavit’ trial.
A number of studies have shown how vitamin D can help fight off viruses with links between vitamin D deficiency and a variety of infections. (3), (4)
If you find you’re feeling ill or regularly catching infections, you may want to consider eating more vitamin D rich foods or supplementing to increase your levels.
3. Poor psychological function
There’s still research to be done in this area, however vitamin D has also been linked with psychological functions, including mood and memory.
The Journal of Diabetes Research published a study that explored the effect of vitamin D supplementation on improving various measures of psychological well being. Results showed an improvement in various outcomes following weekly vitamin D supplementation. (5)
Treatment of a vitamin D deficiency
It’s quite challenging to obtain vitamin D from the diet. Some of the main foods which contains some vitamin D include:
- Oily fish (particularly salmon and tuna)
- Orange juice
However, as mentioned; we do tend to get a very low volume of vitamin D from diet alone, so supplementation can be a great every day addition.
We recently wrote a guide on what to look for when choosing a quality vitamin D supplement, which outlines why an oil based formula is best, and why it’s important to opt for pharmaceutical grade over food grade.
Pharma Nord’s Bio-Vitamin D3 supplements are an unrivaled vitamin D3 preparation. Due to their superiority they have been featured in a number of clinical trials and have been selected for the upcoming ‘Cornoavit’ study which will look at the effects of vitamin D supplementation on COVID-19 and other respiratory infections.
Encapsulated in cold-pressed olive oil for optimum absorption and presented in easy to swallow pearl capsules, Bio-Vitamin D3 is a great supplement for those wanting a quality product to top up their vitamin D levels. Available in a range of pack sizes and strengths.
Featured on BBC News
Our vitamin D has also been featured on BBC news! The report explains the role vitamin D can play with supporting our immune system and why its been chosen for the upcoming 'Coronavit' trial. You can watch the full report on the video below and see our Bio-Vitamin D3 boxes being prepared! (all content copyright BBC News):
(1) Vitamin D Deficiency: Omeed Sizar; Swapnil Khare; Amandeep Goyal; Pankaj Bansal; Amy Givler
(2) Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium and Vitamin D: A Catharine Ross, Christine L Taylor, Ann L Yaktine, and Heather B Del Valle.
(3) A review of the critical role of vitamin D in the functioning of the immune system and the clinical implications of vitamin D deficiency: Gerry K Schwalfenberg
(4) Vitamin D deficiency in community-acquired pneumonia: low levels of 1,25(OH)2 D are associated with disease severity: Mathias W Pletz 1, Christoph Terkamp, Ulrike Schumacher, Gernot Rohde, Hartwig Schütte, Tobias Welte, Robert Bals, CAPNETZ-Study Group
(5) Vitamin D Supplementation Improves Mood in Women with Type 2 Diabetes: Sue Penckofer, Mary Byrn, William Adams, Mary Ann Emanuele, Patricia Mumby, Joanne Kouba, and Diane E. Wallis