Vitamin D is an extremely important vitamin that has powerful effects on several systems throughout your body. It has a role in your nervous system, bones, muscle, and immune systems.
You can get vitamin D in three ways: through your skin, from your diet (eg oily fish, liver, egg) and from supplements. Your body forms vitamin D naturally after exposure to sunlight. But too much sun exposure can lead to skin aging and skin cancer, so many people try to get their vitamin D from other sources.
Vitamin D deficiency is incredibly common and most people are unaware of it. That’s because the symptoms are often subtle and non-specific, meaning that it’s hard to know if they’re caused by low vitamin D levels or something else.
Vitamin D deficiency can be caused by the following reasons:
One of vitamin D’s most important roles is keeping your immune system strong so you’re able to fight off viruses and bacteria that cause illness. If you often become sick, especially with colds or the flu, low vitamin D levels may be a contributing factor.
Excessive fatigue and tiredness may be a sign of vitamin D deficiency. Taking supplements may help improve energy levels.
Low Vitamin D levels may impair cognitive function because there are vitamin D receptors in areas of the brain that are responsible for mood and behavior, including the development of depression.
Vitamin D’s role in controlling inflammation and fighting infection is important for proper healing. Slow healing of wounds after surgery or injury may be a sign that your vitamin D levels are too low.
Vitamin D plays a crucial role in calcium absorption and bone metabolism. People with a deficiency are more likely to have weak bones, muscle weakness and back pain that limit their daily activities. Low bone mineral density is an indication that your bones have lost calcium and other minerals. This places older adults, especially women, at an increased risk of fractures.
One role vitamin D plays is stimulating new and old hair follicles. When there isn’t enough vitamin D in your system, new hair growth can be stunted.
There have been reports of Vitamin D deficiency associated with higher risk of COVID-19. Medical Journal like JAMA Network Open also noted that patients with untreated Vitamin D deficiency were 1.77 times more likely to test positive for COVID-19. More studies are required before this conclusion can be reached.
Most will agree that there is no harm to add daily doses of vitamin D (400 to 1,000 units) in one’s supplement intake as it is generally safe. However, it is also possible that too much intake of vitamin D can cause toxicity and lead to an excess of calcium in the body which may not be desirable.
Do discuss with our doctor before starting on this vitamin regime.
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Dr Wenus Ho is a family physician and a designated workplace doctor with more than a decade of clinical experience. She is also currently a postgraduate tutor for the Graduate Diploma of Family Medicine (GDFM) Training Program in the Yong Yoo Lin School of Medicine, Singapore....
After graduating from Guys’, King’s and St Thomas’ School of Medicine in the United Kingdom, Dr Juliana went on to complete her Graduate Diploma in Family medicine at the National University of Singapore. She also has completed her diploma in Occupational Medicine. Dr Juliana applies her...
Dr Yong graduated from University College London, United Kingdom, with a Bachelor of Medicine & Bachelor of Surgery with distinction in medical sciences. She has more than 10 years of experience as a general practitioner, and was accredited as family physician by the Family Physician Accreditation...
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