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Do you feel chronic aches in your joints a lot lately? When was the last time you soak yourself up in the morning sunshine? You might be wondering what does the sunlight has to do with joint aches, well, your habit of not embracing morning rays is the reason for chronic pains. How? Why? Because that means your body is lacking the sunshine vitamin called ‘D’.
A recent study reported a prevalence of Vitamin D deficiency ranging from 50-94%. Due to the fast-life and 9 to 5 job, our mornings are mostly spent in rushing to work and the entire day, we forget to supply the necessary vitamin D to our body in any form. So let’s understand what is Vitamin D first, its importance or benefits, and how its deficiency can trigger joint pain.
A naturally fat-soluble vitamin that regulates the body’s use of calcium and phosphorus, is a vital nutrient for bone and teeth health and can ward off numerous other health problems. Its deficiency is said to affect both physical and mental health and many of us are unknowingly deficient of it. Our body makes vitamin D when the skin is exposed to the sun, hence the lack of sun exposure is the major reason for vitamin D deficiency in us today.
Signs of Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D is measured in the blood as 25 hydroxyvitamin D. The ideal level of it is between 40-80 ng/mL and at below 20 ng/ml, you are considered vitamin D deficient and you may feel the following;
● get sick and infected very often
● fatigue and tiredness
● joint and bone pain
● muscle pain and weakness
● respiratory issues
● neurological concerns including numbness
● slow healing of wounds
● bone & hair loss
Vitamin D deficiency also causes osteomalacia in adults and rickets in children where the bones become soft and weak, autoimmune conditions such as RA, Type 1 diabetes, and multiple sclerosis (MS).
Vitamin D and Joint Pain
Numerous research and study have been conducted in finding a link between vitamin D and chronic pain. And a review of studies from 2016 even showed that people with RA had notably less vitamin D in their blood than people without RA. Another study even showed good relief in the pain symptoms when the participants took vitamin D supplements.
Benefits of Vitamin D
● Sufficient levels of vitamin D are necessary for absorption of other essential vitamins and minerals, particularly calcium and phosphate
● It is important for immune function, inflammation, cell proliferation, and differentiation.
● It can cut down the risk of cardiovascular diseases, hypertension/blood pressure, cancer, inflammation, depression etc.
Sources of Vitamin D
Get some sunlight
Sun triggers the production of vitamin D in our body. Hence it is important to expose our body to the sun for at least 10-15 mins without sunscreen, between 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at least twice per week. Please note that darker the skin means you need more sunlight to spark vitamin D production because darker skin absorbs less sunlight compared to lighter one. Also, don’t overexpose yourself or you may get burnt or even skin cancer.
Vitamin D rich foods
In order to minimize the vitamin D deficiency symptoms in adults, one must consume at least 15 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin D/day. For that consider including the following in your daily diet;
● oily fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and tuna (better eat raw in sushi)
● cod liver oil
● fortified foods like cereals, milk, cheese, yoghurt and soy products
● beef liver
● egg yolks
Overdosing yourself with vitamin D is also risky. Hence, check your D levels regularly, eat right and soak in the sun moderately and stay pain-free!