Many Australians have spent the best part of 2021 indoors. With a large focus cast on current uncertainties it can be easy to forget to upkeep all areas of our health. Being indoors regularly means many have been missing crucial exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun that is necessary to produce vitamin D in the skin.
What is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is a hormone that helps controls calcium levels in the blood, which is critical for supporting healthy bones. Like all vitamins and minerals, inadequate amounts can cause a range of issues. In Australia over 30% of adults have a mild, moderate or severe deficiency of vitamin D .
Health effects of low vitamin D
A vitamin D deficiency can lead to bone and muscle pain and result in rickets in children and osteoporosis in adults. Low vitamin D levels are also linked to a host of increased risk for disease such as cardiovascular disease, asthma, and cancer .
How to test vitamin D levels
If you think you many need a vitamin D test you can speak with GP and arrange to take a simple blood test. The blood test will measure a form of vitamin D in your blood called 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-OHD) . It can be beneficial to be tested at the end of winter or in early spring, as your vitamin D levels are at their lowest around this time of year.
Vitamin D and safe sun exposure
The best source of vitamin D is the sun’s UV rays. What’s particularly vital in Australia is balancing gaining adequate sun exposure with appropriate sun safety. UV rays are the predominant cause for skin cancer, however practicing sun protection means you can stay safe and get the exposure you need to maintain your vitamin D levels. You can also obtain a small amount of vitamin D from certain foods however food alone does not provide an adequate amount.
Vitamin D supplements
If you have received a blood test finding you have a vitamin D deficiency, it’s important to speak with your GP or Pharmacist about whether you may require supplements temporarily or longer-term. There are a range of vitamin D supplements available which come in different forms. Getting advice from a medical professional ensures you are taking the right amount and can confirm the active ingredients are appropriate for you.
,  https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/vitamin-d-deficiency