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Does taking vitamin D help prevent osteoporosis?

25 Jun 2019 11:18 AM
image of Dr Taher Mahmud

Dr Taher Mahmud

Vitamin D is yet another vitamin most individuals are aware of, whether it’s from supplements or from your diet. Dr Mahmud, of the London Osteoporosis Clinic goes into detail about what this vitamin does for our diets, and why it’s vitally important for our bone health. 


Vitamin D

Our skin naturally produces vitamin D when exposed to the sun, which is where it earns its nickname, ‘the sunshine vitamin’. Because the UK does not get constant bright sun, our bodies aren’t getting the UVB light that they need to produce vitamin D. Vitamin D is used in your body to regulate its absorption of calcium. People might try to solve this issue by adding calcium in their diet, but without vitamin D, your body is not absorbing calcium to its full potential.

If we are not getting enough vitamin D in our diets, then there is a lack in calcium production. Osteoporosis treatments will not work if there is reduced calcium production. If you’re trying to improve your bone health, getting more vitamin D in your diet is crucial. 


Symptoms of a deficiency

Look for symptoms such as tiredness, aches and pains, bone pain, muscle weakness, and excessive sweating, for clues of whether you could have a vitamin D deficiency. In children, ‘softer bones’ might cause skeletal deformities, such as knock knees and bow legs. Additionally in children, seizures and muscle cramps can occur from low calcium levels. 

In adults, a vitamin D deficiency can cause conditions such as osteomalacia, which is when bones can become weak (and thus feel soft), due to a loss of calcium, and osteoporosis, which is where bone starts to degrade. 


Increasing vitamin D intake

Looking for food that has strong concentrations of vitamin D is crucial. Margarine, cereals, and specific dairy products might have had vitamin D added, while egg yolks and fatty fish have naturally occurring vitamin D. Diet changes might not be sufficient enough, so having vitamin D supplements in addition to nutritional changes is also suggested.

Increasing calcium in your diet is also required for those with a vitamin D deficiency. Dairy products such as yogurt, milk, and cheese, and tofu have bigger concentrations of calcium in them. 

Getting enough calcium and vitamin D is an essential part of prevention of osteoporosis and other related conditions. Talk to your doctor or contact the London Osteoporosis clinic about the best ways to include these nutrients in your diet, and daily routine.


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