Frequent illness ‘might be down’ to vitamin D deficiency – full list of signs and symptoms

Around 20 per cent of adults across the UK suffer with vitamin D deficiency, according to the NHS.

Between October and March, we need to rely on dietary sources of vitamin D as in Scotland we only get enough of the right kind of sunlight for our bodies to make vitamin D between April and September – mostly between 11AM and 3PM.

Vitamin D helps with many functions in your body – including your heart.

The nutrient also helps to keep your bones, teeth and muscles healthy and strong as well as playing a vital role in your immune system.

It is therefore essential for your health and wellbeing that levels of vitamin D remain at an adequate rate – reports The Express.

The essential nutrient aids calcium and phosphorus absorption from your diet.

A lack of the vitamin may be noticeable if your immune system is a bit weak with a number of warning signs you may be able to spot.

In Scotland, we do not get enough vitamin D from the sun between October and March.

According to the healthcare portal Livi, catching illnesses or infections more often could be signalling vitamin D deficiency.

Dr Rhianna McClymont, Lead GP at Livi, explained: “The vitamin plays a vital role in keeping our immune system working as it should.

“So if you’re finding yourself frequently feeling under the weather or battling a cold, it might be down to a lack of vitamin D.”

Even though struggling with frequent colds and cases of flu could be caused by the sunshine vitamin deficiency, this isn’t the only symptom.

Other symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include:

  • Feeling tired or fatigued
  • Hair loss
  • Muscle pain
  • Bone pain
  • Lower back pain
  • Depression
  • Mood changes
  • Wounds that heal slowly following surgery, infection or injury.

Livi explains that this deficiency can be hard to spot as there can be no warning signs at all.

Often, if symptoms do appear, they can only be “subtle”.

The bad news is that vitamin D deficiency can lead to bone density loss, making your bones more fragile.

Tired man under the duvet in bed
Being ill frequently may be due to vitamin D deficiency.

How much vitamin D do I need?

Between later March and the end of September, your body is generally able to synthesise enough vitamin D from direct sunlight.

The NHS states you can get enough just from spending time outside with exposed skin.

Even though our bodies are able to synthesise this nutrient organically, sun is crucial in this process.

So from October onwards, the Government recommends looking into supplementing vitamin D.

When it comes to the exact number, your body needs 10 micrograms of the vitamin daily if you are over one year old.

Sometimes, vitamin D content is expressed in International Units (IU), which brings your daily target to 400 IU.

Apart from sunlight and supplements, you can also obtain the nutrient from certain foods.

Good food sources of vitamin D include:

  • Oily fish (salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel)
  • Red meat
  • Liver
  • Egg yolks
  • Some fortified foods (certain fat spreads and breakfast cereals).

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