Are you getting enough vitamin D?

Now that we’re in the middle of winter it might be time to think about your vitamin D intake. Vitamin D is an essential micronutrient – one of its most important functions is to help grow and maintain strong bones and teeth. Some research has shown that vitamin D can also help our immunity and reduce depression.

Some foods contain vitamin D, particularly oily fish and dairy products, but we’re generally unable to meet our recommended intake through diet alone.

We produce vitamin D in our skin when we’re exposed to sunlight and can usually get enough from a small amount – however this is dependent on a number of factors.

• Sunlight – lower levels of vitamin D are more common in winter and places with little sunlight; if you’re indoors all day, or cover your body up when outdoors.
• Skin colour – darker skin has higher levels of melanin, which absorbs less vitamin D.
• Disease – conditions that affect our gut and digestion, like celiac disease and chronic pancreatitis, can reduce absorption.
• Age – your skin's ability to produce vitamin D drops as you age.

Vitamin D deficiency causes thinning of the bone structure – increasing the risk of falls and fractures in adults. People with vitamin D deficiency often suffer from bone, joint and muscle pain or weakness. Other symptoms can include: fatigue, depression, thinning hair, lowered immunity to colds and flu.

It’s nearly impossible to have too much naturally-occurring vitamin D; however, it is possible if you take vitamin D supplements in excess. Very high vitamin D levels can cause kidney damage and dangerous heart issues. Only take the recommended dose for your needs. 

Also, remember to take a balanced approach to sun exposure – take care to avoid the risk of
any sun damage to your skin.

Despite our sunny climate, vitamin D deficiency affects around 30% of Australians to some degree.

For more information about nutrition advice visit book an appointment or visit the appropriate service link on our website.

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Are you getting enough vitamin D?
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