Vitamin D: Don’t let the D stand for Deficiency

Vitamin D deficiency is an under-diagnosed condition estimated to affect 50 percent of the world, and 56 percent of New Zealanders.

The bulk of vitamin D is produced by the skin, liver, kidneys and the body in response to sun exposure. Smaller sources can be found in oily fish such as salmon, and cod liver oil. The only other way to get vitamin D is to take it as a supplement.

People who are at higher risk of deficiency are typically female, darker skinned, elderly, diabetic or smokers who are overweight. It’s all related to whether you can get enough sun to start with, but then do you make vitamin D well enough?

Getting your Vitamin D naturally

The best time to get the right sun for your body to make vitamin D is between the hours of 10am and 3pm during the summer months. You need to expose large areas for a few minutes and protect your face. Don’t allow yourself to burn.  In the winter months, it’s very difficult to get enough vitamin D.

Taking Vitamin D supplements

Often correcting vitamin D deficiency gives improvements such as support for sleep, joint mobility and mood, having more energy and even mental clarity. The best way to know whether you need vitamin D is to talk to your Doctor about having a blood test.

From your results your doctor will decide what dose to give you, and then do another blood test a few months later to check on how things are going.

The dose of vitamin D needed will vary from person to person according to their unique situation. The legal dose that you can purchase is 1000 iu/day and it is known to be safe in pregnancy. Vitamin D is available at your local Unichem or Life Pharmacy – talk to the Pharmacist for more information and to see if a supplement might be beneficial for you.

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