Lorraine: Dr Amir says spine could shrink if deficient in vitamin D
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Vitamin D is often referred to as the “sunshine vitamin” because the body naturally produces it when exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. However, in the winter months, as the days grow shorter and time outdoors in the sunshine reduces, the risk of vitamin D deficiency rises.
Though a vitamin deficiency can manifest itself in many ways, experts believe it could contribute to back pain.
Vitamin D helps to improve the body’s ability to absorb calcium, which in turn maintains bone health.
However, a lack of vitamin D can lead to bone deformities and bone pain in adults.
Two studies, in 2015 and 2018, found links between a deficiency and chronic lower back pain.
According to Healthline, one study found “98 people with lower back pain found that increased pain severity was associated with lower levels of vitamin D”.
There have also been links drawn between arthritis, muscle pain and chronic widespread pain and lower levels of vitamin D.
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What are the other symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency?
There are a number of symptoms commonly associated with a vitamin D deficiency.
However, in many cases, the only way to know for sure is by visiting your GP for tests.
Some symptoms include:
Muscle weakness, aches and cramps
Sudden mood changes, such as low mood and depression
How can you get more vitamin D in the winter?
There are a number of ways you can naturally increase your vitamin D levels during the winter months.
According to the NHS, incorporating more vitamin D rich foods in your diet is one way to boost levels.
Recommended foods include egg yolks, oily fish such as salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel, red meat, liver and fortified foods including certain breakfast cereals or fat spreads.
Some mushrooms can also boost vitamin D levels as long as they are fortified.
Another way to boost vitamin D levels is by taking dietary supplements, however, the NHS recommends adults should take “10 micrograms a day”.
They add: “Do not take more than 100 micrograms (4,000 IU) of vitamin D a day as it could be harmful.
“This applies to adults, including pregnant and breastfeeding women and the elderly, and children aged 11 to 17 years.”
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