Vitamin D has many important roles within the human body, most notably bone health and muscle function. However, there is growing evidence to suggest that it also plays a vital part in our immune health as well as regulating our energy level, sleep and even mood.
Your body makes vitamin D when it is exposed to sunlight. As the UK has poor sun quality, vitamin D deficiency is common. Find out if you are deficient with our vitamin D blood test.
Vitamin D helps the body to absorb calcium which bones need for strength. Without vitamin D, your body will be unable to absorb the key nutrients bones need from the food you eat and this increases your risk of developing osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is a debilitating disease which weakens bones, so they are fragile and more likely to break. It can take some time to develop but can result in breakages, particularly the wrist and hips. Women of menopausal age are at a greater risk of osteoporosis as their oestrogen levels fall. Therefore, vitamin D is vital for women of this age to prevent fractures and weakened bones. The nutrient can also boost immunity, mood and energy during the menopause, too!
The important role of vitamin D in bone healthy means it is also vital for anyone who participates in regular exercise because it can prevent the development of stress fractures. However, it also has muscular benefits and increases muscle protein synthesis and increased vitamin D levels are associated with greater strength and power.
There is a growing body of evidence to suggest that vitamin D is important for brain function and that low levels could cause depression.
As well as depression, research has shown that low levels of vitamin D have been associated with premenstrual mood swings in women, mood disorders and cognitive issues.
Studies have also shown that increasing vitamin D levels via supplementation can improve depressive symptoms.
Low levels of vitamin D can reduce wellbeing and impair bone, muscle and immune health. However, Vitamin D is an exception to other vitamins in that the main source is not through diet, rather through action of sunlight on the skin. As sunlight can be in short supply in countries like the UK, supplementation is often required and indeed recommended by Public Health England over winter months. It is useful to inform yourself of your vitamin D level by blood testing to know if any symptoms are due to suboptimal levels of Vitamin D and if initiation of supplementation or alteration in dose of supplementation is required.
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Vitamin D is often called the sunshine vitamin because your skin makes it when it is exposed to sunlight. It is a fat-soluble nutrient which has roles in bone health, immune function, energy levels and mood.
Read more about vitamin D.
Vitamin deficiency occurs when you have a chronic lack of a specific vitamin. If the deficiency is caused by poor nutrition then it is called primary deficiency, but if it’s caused by an underlying condition, it’s known as a secondary deficiency.
Secondary deficiencies can be caused by things such as malabsorption, chemotherapy, or diseases such as HIV.
Read more on vitamin deficiency.
Even though there are some dietary sources of vitamin D available (most of which are fortified with it), sunlight exposure is the best source. Because sunlight can be limited in the UK, the entire population is at risk of deficiency. Therefore, Public Health England recommends that all adults and children over one should take a vitamin D supplement containing at least 10 micrograms.
Vitamin D is essential for strong and healthy bones. Physical and weight-bearing exercises are also good for bone health and help to keep them strong. So, it is also essential to take part in regular physical activity. Equally, vitamin D is important for muscle function, too, so getting enough will also support your muscles and keep them working.
Low levels of vitamin D can cause the following symptoms:
If you’re wondering how to test vitamin D levels at home, it couldn’t be easier.
Our vitamin D blood test requires a small blood sample and makes checking your vitamin D levels privately, fast, affordable, and convenient. All you need to do is collect your sample and send it directly to our accredited lab for analysis. Accurate results will be available within 2 working days of receipt on your secure online dashboard.
The recommended normal level of vitamin D in adult men and women is between 50 -175 nmol/L. The optimal recommended level for wellbeing is >75 nmol/L.
Our vitamin D test kit will give you an accurate measurement of your levels.
If you take too many vitamin D supplements over a prolonged period of time, it can have a negative impact on your health. That’s because it can cause a condition called hypercalcaemia where lots of calcium builds up in the body, resulting in weakened bones or damage to organs such as the heart and kidneys.
You can monitor the impact supplements are having on your body’s level of vitamin D by taking our vitamin D blood test.
All our tests are designed by our expert team of scientists who have taken the latest research to bring you the most relevant biomarkers to improve your health. Here are some alternative tests that cover essential biomarkers.
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