Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin that is important for supporting the uptake and absorption of calcium into our bones. It also plays a crucial role in the maintenance of a healthy immune system as well as positive mood.
When your skin is exposed to sunlight, UVB ray stimulates Vitamin D3 production from cholesterol in our skin cells. Skin pigmentation can reduce vitamin D production in the skin by over 90%. Population with dark skin are at increased risk of Vitamin D deficiency compared to fairer skin population. The same goes for office workers and older people who do not spend enough time outdoor for sufficient exposure to sunlight.
Medical researchers have also noted that vitamin D levels in the body fluctuate with the changing seasons in response to available sunlight, such as during the winter months when exposure to sunlight decreases.
Signs and symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency might include:
Muscle weakness, muscle aches, or muscle cramps.
Prolonged sunlight exposure increases your risks of skin cancer. It’s important that you practice safe sun protection and you should never get sunburnt.
Aside from safe and sensible sunlight exposure, we can also get Vitamin D from the food we eat and from taking Vitamin D supplements.
Oily fish such as tuna and salmon, milk and milk products and eggs are good sources of dietary Vitamin D.
Vitamin D supplements come in various form, such as capsules, chewable tablets, drops and sprays to help to deliver the required amount of Vitamin D.
If you suspect you might be deficient in Vitamin D, consult your doctor before you take any Vitamin D supplements.
For further information on Vitamin D, click here to visit New Zealand Ministry of Health's article on Vitamin D.