Vitamin D deficiency: The feeling in your feet could signal lack of the ‘sunshine vitamin’

This Morning: Dr Michael Mosley discusses vitamin D dosage

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Vitamin D deficiency targets around one in five Britons, with more lacking this nutrient during winter months. The reason why this deficiency can strike during winter is due to the synthesis process. The Government recommends looking into taking supplements during this time.

Like every vitamin, vitamin D takes care of various functions in the body.  

For example, the nutrient helps to absorb calcium and phosphorus from your diet.

This in return keeps your bones, teeth and muscles healthy.

And lack of the sunshine vitamin can present with pain in these areas.

The feeling in your feet which could be pointing to vitamin D deficiency is bone pain, according to a health portal Patient.

They describe that your bones can start feeling painful to moderate pressure.

Other areas of your body where this can become noticeable include ribs, shin bones, thighs, pelvis, hips and lower back.

Patient also warns that it could be tricky to spot the deficiency as symptoms can also be “nonspecific or vague”.

They add that it might be easier to get a diagnosis in the case of a severe deficiency.

This stage can cause symptoms like bone deformities.

However, bones aren’t the only part of your body that can be showing warning signs.

Other symptoms of this deficiency can include:

  • Tiredness
  • General sense of not being well
  • Muscle weakness
  • Muscle aches
  • Muscle cramps
  • Mood changes and depression.

Why can people be more prone to vitamin D deficiency during winter?

The NHS explains that during this time your body might not be able to synthesise vitamin D organically from the direct sunlight.

This happens because during this time the sun isn’t “strong enough”.

They recommend increasing the amount of vitamin D in your diet and looking into dietary supplements as well.

However, from late March to the end of September, most people should be able to get enough vitamin D if they spend time outdoors in the sunshine with their skin exposed.

How much vitamin D do I need?

Adults, and children older than one year, need 10 micrograms of vitamin D daily.

Vitamin D is also often measured in international units (IU) and 10 micrograms represent 400 IU.

According to the NHS, foods rich in vitamin D include:

  • Oily fish (salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel)
  • Red meat
  • Liver
  • Egg yolks
  • Fortified foods (certain fat spreads and breakfast cereals).

Patient adds that many people have low levels but aren’t classed as deficient. They recommend topping up this deficit even if you have no symptoms.

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