Are You Getting Enough Vitamin D?
Of all the deficiencies, ailments and illnesses out there, few people focus in on a Vitamin D deficiency as a serious concern. However, estimates show that as many as half of the adults and children living in Australia alone have a deficiency of Vitamin D. Discover more about the symptoms of a deficiency and how you can get enough Vitamin D each day by using this helpful guide.
Understanding and Spotting a Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D is integral to a healthy and functioning body, and it can help the body to utilise calcium in the diet to strengthen bones. However, weak or brittle bones is far from the only symptom you might encounter if you are dealing with a deficiency in Vitamin D. Some of the various symptoms, which may or may not be easily spotted, include the following:
- Muscle weakness or difficulty with normal workouts
- Chronic bone pain
- Severe asthma
- Predisposition to the flu
- Psoriasis or similar skin conditions
- Gum disease
Demographics With High Risks For a Vitamin D Deficiency
While some groups, especially those living in sunny climates, never worry about Vitamin D deficiencies, there are some groups that are considered to be especially high-risk. Everyone, no matter where you live, should pay attention if they happen to fall into one or more of these categories:
- You are obese with a BMI of 30 or higher
- You have digestive problems or issues with vitamin absorption
- You have naturally dark skin
- You follow a vegan or dairy-free diet
- You live in a cold climate
Having dark skin means that your body may not be able to make Vitamin D as easily, and those who rarely spend time in the sun struggle to meet the intake minimums as well. While eating a primarily plant-based diet has plenty of benefits, it may mean that you need to actively seek out Vitamin D sources since you may avoid both eggs and milk.
Best Sources of Vitamin D
There is no question that the best source of Vitamin D is the sun. When skin is exposed to sunlight, the body naturally produces Vitamin D, but the skin has to be directly exposed to the sun and can’t be covered with fabric or sunscreen. It is important to note that skin cancer can result from extensive exposure in direct sunlight, so individuals have to be careful to monitor their total time in the sun. Generally speaking, 800 IU is the recommended daily amount of Vitamin D for optimal bone health, and just twenty minutes of sun time each day should meet that need.
Foods Rich in Vitamin D
While spending time in the sun is the ultimate way to meet the daily requirements for Vitamin D, certain foods can also help you avoid a deficiency. In some countries, milk is fortified with Vitamin D, which can go a long way in meeting the 800 IU guideline generally believed to be optimal for adults. However, that is far from the only option. Here are some of the best choices for those who want to soak up Vitamin D from food:
- Salmon, sole and flounder
- Canned tuna and sardines
- Egg yolks
- Ricotta cheese
- Beef liver
- Fortified breads and cereals
Are Vitamin D Supplements Necessary?
If you don’t spend a lot of time in the sun, or if you fall into one of the high-risk categories mentioned above, then you might want to consider a daily Vitamin D supplement. While not as effective as sun exposure, supplements can be an easy way to avoid a deficiency and meet the daily recommendations. If you aren’t sure whether a supplement is necessary, a blood test can determine whether you are deficient or not.
Avoiding a Vitamin D deficiency is easy if you know what to look for and what foods to make a part of your regular diet. Staying healthy and fit is important when comparing health insurance providers, especially if you are eager to get the best protection at a reasonable price that still fits into your budget.