Last year in January, I decided to visit my lovely doctor in London, because I had been carrying a knee injury for too long. As I was pointing at my tibia, she instantly thought I had vitamin D deficiency. I protested, saying that I had a good diet and took oily fish supplements. She explained that Vitamin D deficiency is mainly due to lack of sun exposure.
I went for my blood test and the results were quite a revelation, I was severely deficient in vitamin D and also in calcium. It’s really common nowadays she said, there is a mini epidemic, and people don’t realise it until they experience bone pain.
The pain in my tibia was due to my tendon pulling on a soft bone. In order to avoid further injuries, I decided to stop going to yoga classes until my vitamin D was back to normal. I practised a bit at home but I could feel how tender my back bone had become, so I stopped for good. My immune system was low as well and I caught a terrible flu. I felt like an eighty year old woman, very fragile.
The problem is that it takes several months of supplementation – almost six months in my case – to see levels of vitamin D rise to normal, which can be incredibly frustrating.
How did that happen? – I wondered. It’s quite simple, my skin is pale and over the last few years, I’ve hid from the sun as much as I could in the summer.
We’ve all heard that sun exposure is damaging to the skin, but due to this new outbreak of D deficiency, doctors are now recommending to get from 10 to 15 minutes of sun everyday, or as the NHS mentions in their website time “typically short and less than (…) needed to redden or burn”.
Vitamin D can also be found in oily fish, liver and eggs, but absorption by food is not as efficient.
I’ve noticed it rains quite a lot here :), so each time there is a ray of sunshine if you want to be good to your bones, go and sit on the beach for a while to stock up on vitamin D!
Also, if you want to read more, here’s the link to the NHS article on sun and vitamin D as it is recent and helpful.