Vitamin D: Why You Need It Now
15 Jul 2015
Vitamin D deficiency is remarkably common in Australians while its causes are most commonly mistaken. Lacking in Vitamin D has been significantly linked as both partaking in the cause and increasing the likelihood of several mental and physical health problems ranging from depression to heart disease.
So why’s it so important?
Vitamin D plays a vital role in bone and muscle development, maintenance and your overall health as it assists in your body’s absorption of calcium. Eating foods with Vitamin D like eggs, lean meats, beans, salmon, tuna and poultry, are all beneficial in maintaining a healthy diet and thus, your body’s ability to absorb. However, these foods contain only a small amount. The greatest way to naturally attain Vitamin D is through direct Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun but as this is also the main cause of skin cancer, it’s essential to achieve an appropriate amount of sun exposure each day. Determining what is “appropriate” depends on the climate of course, and also knowing when your skin has had enough; this is usually made obvious by when you feel as though you’re about to burn. And remember, the amount of time you spend in the sun each day does not result in the level of Vitamin D you absorb.
There are several factors that lessen a person’s ability to absorb Vitamin D including age, natural skin colour, diet, exercise, weight and the time and place of your surroundings. Generally speaking, people who are older, overweight, have a medical condition, have naturally darker skin or have little exposure to sunlight, have an increased risk of having low Vitamin D. In addition to these attributes, possible symptoms of being deficient may include consistent feelings of fatigue or unhappiness and having bone or joint aches and pains.
Vitamin D is also a fat-soluble making it harder for those with a higher muscle mass to store it which is why they need more, and since exposure to sun light increases your brain’s serotonin for mood elevation – if you’re feeling down, it may be the result of not having enough. Darker skin acts as a filter for UV penetration so those with darker skin require between 3 to 10 times more sun exposure than those with lighter skin, and for older people it becomes harder to convert Vitamin D as their kidney’s become less efficient and more time is spent indoors. And for most, working within offices, performing night shifts and having other personal circumstances makes it difficult to achieve balanced sun exposure.
So what should you do?
Thankfully, there are many supplements available and at various dose levels to meet your requirements. If you’re worried that you may be low in Vitamin D, see your local GP for a blood test. And when or if you already know, there are many renowned supplements available for purchase that can assist you in achieving better absorption.
For already available options in-store, check out your nearest Priceline Pharmacy.