breaks down Vitamin D deficiency Dr Vincent Candrawinata, (affectionately known as Dr Vincent), the world's foremost expert on phenolic antioxidants and founder of Renovatio, has revealed that a lot of people are currently experiencing Vitamin D deficiency and they don't realise it.
Dr Vincent is also a respected clinical nutritionist and food scientist who is regularly called on to comment on issues of health and wellness.
"Irrationally grumpy? Feeling depressed? Constantly tired and lacking energy? These are all signs that you or someone in your circle may be suffering with a Vitamin D deficiency. Throughout the last 14 months many people have worked from home and rarely left the house, which means they are not getting enough exposure to sunlight. These changes in emotions and energy levels are being put down to COVID in a number of situations – and while in some cases this may be true – for a lot of people a Vitamin D deficiency is more accurately to blame," Dr Vincent said.
"The turmoil of COVID changed our lives in more ways than one. While the deadly virus itself made its way into every state and territory in Australia, the lockdowns, work-from-home orders and social distancing guidelines also amplified a number of other serious conditions, including Vitamin D deficiencies."
According to Dr Vincent, Vitamin D deficiency is incredibly common, however most people are unaware of it. This is due to the fact that the symptoms are often subtle and not exclusive to this condition, meaning that it's hard to know if low Vitamin D levels or something else causes them.
"Put simply, Vitamin D helps the body absorb the calcium it needs to keep your bones and muscles healthy and strong. Fortunately, a Vitamin D deficiency is usually easy to fix. Getting on top of your deficiency early will have big benefits for your health in the long term because if it is left untreated for extended periods of time it can cause serious medical concerns. If you think you may have a deficiency, it is very important that you speak to your doctor and get your blood levels measured," Dr Vincent warned.
"Most Australians get their Vitamin D when they expose bare skin to ultraviolet B light from the sun. Unfortunately during the pandemic, outdoor activities were heavily restricted and the unconscious things we do day-to-day that increase our sun exposure, including driving, walking a pet or dining at outdoor cafes, were also limited. Food does contain small amounts of Vitamin D, including fatty fish, liver, eggs, margarines and some milk products, however, unfortunately food alone cannot provide an adequate amount of Vitamin D."
So, what actionable, easy steps does Dr Vincent recommend for ensuring you are receiving adequate levels of Vitamin D in your life?
Recognise the symptoms
According to Dr Vincent, these are the symptoms that you must look out for Vitamin D deficiency:
• Sick or infected often. One of key roles that Vitamin D plays in our bodies is keeping our immune systems strong, so if you're finding yourself regularly catching colds, low levels may be a contributing factor.
• Fatigue or tiredness. Fatigue can have a severe negative impact on your life, so it is important to get to the bottom of its cause – low Vitamin D levels could be a strong contender.
• Bone and back pain. Low levels of Vitamin D in your blood can be a contributing factor to bone and lower back pain as your body is suffering from a lack of calcium absorption.
• Depression. A depressed mood is a direct sign that you may be Vitamin D deficient.
• Hair loss. A small amount of hair loss can be attributed to stress, however more extreme hair loss can point towards a serious nutrient deficiency.
Get on top of the short and long-term impacts
"The impacts of a Vitamin D deficiency can vary greatly depending on the age of the person experiencing the insufficiency. For infants and children, a severe impact can lead to rickets, whereas for people over 50, low Vitamin D levels can lead to osteoporosis and increase the risk of falls and fractures," Dr Vincent emphasised.
"People with extremely low levels of Vitamin D are the most at risk of developing health problems. A number of diseases have been linked to the deficiency, such as increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairment in older adults, severe asthma in children, and cancer."
Maximise your intake
According to Dr Vincent, there are two very clear things you can do to get your Vitamin D levels back on track: increasing your sun exposure, and eating more foods that are rich in Vitamin D, such as fatty fish or fortified dairy products. With our country opening back up after a year of on-and-off-again lockdowns, there should be no reason you can't get a little more Vitamin D in your life.
"If you have a moderate to severe deficiency, I would recommend seeing your GP to be prescribed a high-dose supplement that can be tracked with a treatment plan that includes blood testing over an extended period of time. It is wise to note, that excess Vitamin D can also have adverse side effects on your body, which is why talking to your doctor about your supplement usage is so important," Dr Vincent added.
Complement with antioxidants to keep your overall health and wellbeing up
"It is common for our diet not to deliver our body with all the micronutrients and antioxidants it needs – such as Vitamin D in this case – supplements as I discussed can be the answer and have beneficial effects on balancing out any deficiencies. However, I also suggested that you complement your treatment plan with antioxidants to keep up your overall health and wellbeing throughout your recovery journey," Dr Vincent said.
"Activated Phenolics are powerful antioxidants that neutralise a wide range of free radicals to protect our body's cells from infection and inflammation."
Renovatio Bioscience extracts these phenolics from Australian apples and activates them to produce turbo-charged health and wellness products that are available throughout Australia, online and through retailers such as Woolworths, and in many other countries across the globe.