08/07/2014 08:38 BST | Updated 08/07/2014 08:59 BST

How To Tell If You Have A Vitamin D Deficiency

Most of us will have a vague idea that sitting outside gives us a boost of vitamin D - but how much do you really know about the sunshine vitamin and would you know how to spot the signs of vitamin D deficiency?

Vitamin D has several important functions, including helping to regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body - which is essential for healthy teeth and bones.

According to the NHS, most people should be able to get all the vitamin D they need by eating a healthy balanced diet and by getting some summer sun.


However, some of the population are at higher risk of suffering from vitamin D deficiency. These include:

  • All pregnant and breastfeeding women

  • Babies and young children under the age of five

  • Older people aged 65 years and over

  • People who are not exposed to much sun, such as people who cover up their skin when outdoors, or those who are housebound or confined indoors for long periods

  • People who have darker skin such as people of African, African-Caribbean and South Asian origin

A lack of vitamin D can lead to bone deformities in children, and bone pain and tenderness in adults.

But how can you spot the signs of vitamin D deficiency before effects become too severe?

Photo gallery Signs You Have A Vitamin D Deficiency See Gallery

You can take supplements or alter your diet to ensure you're getting the vitamin D you need.

Foods rich in vitamin D include oily fish (such as salmon, sardines and mackerel), eggs, fortified fat spreads, fortified breakfast cereals and powdered milk.


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