Dr Dawn Harper on signs of vitamin B12 and vitamin D deficiency
We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info
Vitamin D is a water-soluble nutrient dubbed the “sunshine vitamin” because it can be produced in the skin through the action of sunlight. A deficiency can give rise to a cascade of complications if left unmanaged, but symptoms can be wide-ranging. These can include mood changes, frequent colds and loss of appetite. Occasionally, one sign of low levels may occur in the ankles and feet.
Vitamin D deficiency affects the well-being of millions around the globe, but high latitude countries such as the United Kingdom are disproportionately affected.
Scientists have previously called on the Government to help tackle the condition by fortifying foods with the nutrient.
The chemical is essential for the absorption of calcium, so those who fail to sustain levels through exposure to the sun must turn to food.
Vitamin D refers not to a single chemical, but a group of substances that can be sourced from animals.
READ MORE: Vitamin D deficiency: The sensation in the hands and feet warning that levels are low
A prolonged deficiency can have dire health consequences, so the warning signs should never be ignored.
Symptoms generally include fatigue, depression and muscle weakness, but Foot Health Facts lists foot pain as an additional symptom.
The health body states: “Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin essential for strong bones. Inadequate vitamin D can lead to osteoporosis, increased risk of falls, fractures and bone and muscle pain.
“In the foot and ankle, stress fracture of the metatarsal bones and ankle may be seen in those with vitamin D deficiency, as well as generalised foot pain.”
A nagging pain in the foot should not be brushed off as benign, as low levels have been linked to cancer, dementia, diabetes and arthritis.
Data published in medical journals has shown that supplementation slows bone loss and reduces fractures, particularly when taken with Calcium.
How to avoid vitamin D deficiency
The NHS explains: “From about late-March/ early April to the end of September, the majority of people should be able to make all the vitamin D they need from sunlight on their skin.
“Children from the age of one year and adults need 10 micrograms of vitamin D a day.
“This includes pregnant and breastfeeding women, and people at risk of vitamin D deficiency.”
People who exclude milk, eggs, and fish from their diet, or who follow a vegan diet, are at higher risk for a deficiency.
Few foods are naturally abundant in vitamin D, but the best sources include the flesh of fatty fish and fish liver oils.
Smaller amounts can be found in egg yolks, cheese and beef liver.
What’s more, some mushrooms contain a high amount of D2 due to their exposure to ultraviolet light.
The amount of vitamin D absorbed from the sun can also vary widely, and certain practices such as the use of sunscreen may lessen absorption.
Other conditions that may interfere with vitamin D levels include inflammatory bowel disease or other conditions that hamper the digestion of fat.
What’s more, obesity can also lead to a deficiency because the nutrient accumulates in the excess fat tissue, and therefore can’t be used when needed.
Source: Read Full Article