Vitamin D deficiency can be more likely during October and early March because of a change in weather and daylight hours and because the body creates the vitamin from direct sunlight on the skin when being outdoors. Shorter daylight hours and choosing to be inside to shelter from cold weather can increase a person’s chance of not getting enough sunlight. Vitamin D is an important vitamin for the body, helping to regulate the amount of calcium an phosphate – nutrients needed to keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy. If a person lacks vitamin D this can lead to bone deformities, such as rickets in children and bone pain caused by osteomalacia in adults.
One sign of the condition to be wary of is dizziness caused by vertigo
But these complications can be avoided by spotting the symptoms of vitamin D deficiency early enough.
One sign of the condition to be wary of is dizziness caused by vertigo.
A study published in 2015 found treating vitamin D deficiency helped reduce the recurrence rate of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV).
BPPV is a balance disorder that occurs when some of the calcium crystals become dislodged from its location in the inner eat, resulting in sudden bouts of dizziness, a spinning sensation, lightheadedness and nausea.
Canolith repositioning measure (CRM) is an effective and rapid surgical procedure for BPPV in which the dislodged calcium crystals are moved to the vestibule where they may be absorbed by the body.
But despite the effectiveness of this treatment, BPPV often reoccurs.
Scientists confirmed vitamin D receptors are loaded on calcium channel transport systems in the inner ear and help regulate proper calcium balance.
This helps explain the role of vitamin D in maintaining proper ear function.
The researchers involved in the study aimed to determine intreating severe vitamin D deficiency in patients with BPPV would affect the recurrence rate of the disorder.
Looking at 93 participants, the researchers concluded: “The present study indicated that improvement of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 levels is associated with substantial decrease in recurrence of BPPV.”
Some limitations were noted – the study was restricted by a relatively small sample size and short duration.
Who is at risk of a vitamin D deficiency?
Some people won’t get enough vitamin D from sunlight because they have very little or no sunshine exposure.
The Department of Health recommends that a person takes a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D throughout the year if they:
- Aren’t often outdoors – for example, if they’re frail or housebound
- Are in an institution like a care home
- Usually wear clothes that cover up most of their skin when outdoors
If a person has dark skin – for example if they have an African, African-Caribbean or south Asian background – they may also not get enough vitamin D from sunlight.
The NHS warns against taking too many vitamin D supplements, however.
As the health body explained: “Taking too many vitamin D supplements over a long period of time can cause too much calcium to build up in the body (hypercalcaemia).
“This can weaken the bones and damage the kidneys and the heart.”
If a person chooses to take vitamin D supplements, 10 micrograms a day will be enough for most people, advised the health site.
People can also get a top up of vitamin D in their diet in the winter months.
Foods rich in vitamin D include:
- Oily fish – such as salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel
- Red meat
- Egg yolks
- Fortified foods – such as most fat spreads and some breakfast cereals
Pain in a certain part of the body may also be a symptom of vitamin D deficiency.
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