I’ve been diagnosed with vitamin D deficiency, what now?
Being deficient in vitamin D is relatively common, in fact it is estimated that 1 in 3 men and women across Australia are lacking in this important nutrient. While vitamin D deficiency can occur for a number of reasons, it is typically because of inadequate sun exposure, which reduces vitamin D synthesis. Groups most at risk of vitamin D deficiency include older people, naturally darker skinned individuals, people who avoid sun exposure or work indoors and those who cover up the majority of their body for cultural or religious reasons. A vitamin D deficiency can be detrimental to our health, affecting bone densityf, muscle strength and the proper functioning of the immune system.
How do I get the vitamin D my body needs if I am deficient?
While our body gets most of the vitamins and minerals it needs from a healthy balanced diet there are very few foods that naturally contain vitamin D so it is difficult to obtain enough from the diet alone. If you are vitamin D deficient, two ways to increase your levels are:
- Moderate sun exposure – To obtain enough vitamin D from the sun, it is generally recommended that adults with moderately fair skin expose their arms or equivalent area when outdoors for at least six to seven minutes mid‐morning or mid‐afternoon in summer. This will increase to approximately 30 minutes in winter, depending on location. Darker skinned people require three to six times longer exposure2 because the higher levels of melanin in darker skin pigments that gives skin its colour, hinders vitamin D synthesis. Considering this level of exposure isn’t always achievable for many people, supplementation of vitamin D may be recommended.
- Taking vitamin D supplements – Vitamin D supplements help to manage a vitamin D deficiency when exposure to sunlight is limited. Vitamin D3 is the preferred form, as it is the same type of vitamin D produced in the skin in response to sun exposure and readily absorbed by the body. If you are vitamin D deficient, your GP may recommend a vitamin D3 supplement from the Ostelin product range to bring your levels back into balance.