Coronavirus: Dr Chris discusses importance of vitamin D
There are common vitamin deficiencies that appear in later life, all of which can be remedied by taking a daily supplement. What are they? And how do you know if you’re deficient in them?
According to Age UK, some common deficiencies include B vitamins, vitamin D and vitamin C.
British Dietetic Association spokesperson Priya Tew revealed people further along in life are prone to a vitamin B12 deficiency.
The symptoms of a vitamin B12 deficiency
The NHS noted a vitamin B12 deficiency (otherwise known as folate deficiency anaemia) can develop gradually.
Left untreated, it can lead to physical changes, such as a pale, yellow tinge to the skin and a sore, red tongue.
A vitamin B12 deficiency can affect the way you feel, causing pins and needles, irritability and depression.
It can even affect how you look, as disturbed vision may occur; a deficiency in this vitamin can also lead to a decline in mental abilities.
Should you be low in vitamin B12, it can affect your memory, understanding and judgement.
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Speaking to your doctor about symptoms and undergoing a blood test can determine whether you are deficient in this vitamin.
“The longer the condition goes untreated, the higher the chance of permanent damage,” stated the NHS.
Thus, Age UK suggests daily vitamin B12 supplements of up to 2mg is “unlikely to cause any harm”.
If you don’t eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, vitamin C supplements may be the way forward.
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The healthcare website Patient stated chronic vitamin C deficiency – that lasts for three months or more – can lead to an illness called scurvy.
Early warning signs of a vitamin C deficiency include the following symptoms:
- Tiredness and weakness
- Muscle and joint pains
- Easy bruising
- Spots that look like tiny, red-blue bruises on your skin.
Other symptoms can include:
- Dry skin
- Splitting hair
- Swelling and discolouration of your gums
- Sudden and unexpected bleeding from your gums
- Poor healing of wounds
- Problems fighting infections
- Bleeding into joints, causing severe joint pains
- Changes in your bones
- Tooth loss
- Weight loss.
Again, discussing symptoms with a doctor and undergoing a blood test can determine if you’re lacking vitamin C.
A vitamin C deficiency can be remedied by eating a diet rich in vitamin C and taking vitamin C supplements.
Once treatment has begun, symptoms quickly improve within a matter of days or weeks.
As a rough guide, Patient stated: “One large orange a day will provide you with enough vitamin C.”
Age UK described people over the age of 65 as being high risk to a vitamin d deficiency.
Ms Tew added: “It can be difficult in the UK to meet our vitamin D needs through sunlight and diet alone.”
For this reason, daily vitamin D supplementation is highly recommended, with Age UK proposing 10mcg as sufficient.
However, there is currently a campaign by scientist Dr Gareth Davies to get governments worldwide to increase daily vitamin D recommendations.
At present, the NHS recommends adults to take vitamin D daily from October to March in the UK.
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