Aches and pains could be a worrying sign of winter deficiency – when to see a doctor

Aches and pains could be a worrying sign of winter deficiency – when to see a doctor

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Vitamin deficiencies can wreak havoc on our health, particularly in the winter months. Though aches and pains may be associated with the cold weather and corresponding cold and flu season, they might also be a symptom of a vitamin deficiency.

In particular, vitamin D deficiencies become more common in the winter months.

This is due to the lack of strong UV rays from the sun at this time of year, as well as people’s inclination to hide away from the cold weather and stay indoors.

According to registered nutritionist Clarissa Lenherrof, a vitamin D deficiency could result in symptoms that are easily confused with other winter ailments.

She told “Having low levels of vitamin D may lead to symptoms such as low energy, muscle weakness or aches, bone pain, increased susceptibility to infections or feeling unwell and mood changes.”

Karl Kristian, founder of the health and wellness brand New Nordic pointed out that not getting enough vitamin D can lead to worsening muscle and bone pain further over time.

He told “A lack of vitamin D can lead to bone deformities such as rickets in children, and bone pain caused by a condition called osteomalacia in adults.

“It also plays a vital role in maintaining proper bone structure.”

This is why it is so vital to make sure you are getting enough vitamin D.

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Mr Kristian said: “We advise to pay attention to Vitamin D intake all year round, largely due to the English weather and also our nature of working inside a lot of the time.

“Our body makes Vitamin D by itself, but only after skin is exposed to sufficient sunlight which every person in the UK is lacking currently.”

However, knowing whether or not your aches and pains are a symptom of a vitamin D deficiency will likely require a visit to your GP.

Should you begin to notice persistent muscle weakness or aches, bone pain, low energy and recurring illness, Ms Lenherrof advises requesting a blood test.

She said: “The best way to check your vitamin D is to have a blood test. This can either be done with a doctor, nutritionist or through a self-test company.

“It is important to get professional advice because if you have low levels or a deficiency, you will need to supplement appropriately.

“Advice will help you understand the dosage of vitamin D, which delivery method and if you require vitamin D alongside another vitamin such as vitamin K or calcium.”

Supplements can be prescribed or purchased from certain pharmacies, supermarkets or health food stores.

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r Kristian said: “Supplements are a great way to consume the advised amount of Vitamin D and help prevent deficiency.

“This can be through multivitamin tablets or pure Vitamin D tablets to be taken daily with food to increase the rate of absorption. The NHS advises on taking 10 micrograms a day.”

However, for those who do decide to boost their vitamin D levels with supplements, Ms Lenherrof says it is vital you do not take too high of a dosage.

She said: “There is a risk of over supplementing with Vitamin D, and at high levels, vitamin D can be toxic.”

According to the NHS, overconsumption can lead to hypercalcaemia – a condition that occurs when too much calcium builds up in the body. Over time this can weaken the bones, as well as damaging the kidneys and heart.

Luckily, there are other natural ways to boost levels of the “sunshine vitamin”.

Mr Kristian said: “Vitamin D does naturally occur in foods such as oily fish (salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel), red meat, liver, egg yolks and fortified foods such as most fat spreads and some breakfast cereals.”

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