Vitamin D is created in the body from direct exposure to sunlight. From about late March/early April to the end of September, most people should be able to get all the vitamin D they need from sunlight. A lack of the sunshine vitamin can can lead to bone deformities such as rickets in children, and bone pain caused by a condition called osteomalacia in adults. It has also been revealed that signs can show up on certain extremities too.
Calcium is also required for nail health
Dr Wijayasinghe, medical practitioner
According to medical website LiveStrong, a vitamin D deficiency may contribute to peeling nails. According to Toronto-based family medicine practitioner Dr. Sheila Wijayasinghe, nutritional deficiencies are one of the four main causes of nail problems like peeling or cracking.
A lack of fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin D is a primary reason.
“Not only does vitamin D itself appear to play a role in maintaining nail integrity, the nutrient is necessary for proper calcium absorption and to regulate the concentration of the mineral in a person’s blood,” Dr Wijayasinghe explained.
She added: “Calcium is also required for nail health; peeling nails may indicate that low vitamin D is affecting your calcium level.”
Low levels of vitamin D can also affect the mind. Find out how here.
A number of people run the risk of a vitamin D deficiency.
The Department of Health recommends that a person takes a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D throughout the year if they:
- Aren’t often outdoors – for example, if you’re frail or housebound
- Are in an institution like a care home
- Usually wear clothes that cover up most of their skin when outdoors
If a person has dark skin – for example people of an African, African-Caribbean or south Asian background – they may also not get enough vitamin D from sunlight.
People who fit this profile should also consider taking a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D throughout the year, advised the NHS.
The health body warned against exceeding the recommended dosage, however.
Taking too many vitamin D supplements over a long period of time can cause too much calcium to build up in the body (hypercalcaemia).
This can weaken the bones and damage the kidneys and the heart, explained the health site.
“If you choose to take vitamin D supplements, 10 micrograms a day will be enough for most people,” it said.
People can also top up the vitamin through their diet.
According to LiveStrong: “Fatty fish like salmon are some of the best natural sources.”
The health body also recommended opting for Vitamin D-fortified foods, which include plant milks, regular yogurt or milk, breakfast cereals and orange juice.
Exposure to sunlight is still the most effective way to absorb the vitamin, but a person should always remember to cover up or protect their skin if they’re out in the sun for long periods to reduce the risk of skin damage and skin cancer, advised the NHS.
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