The risks of vitamin D deficiency have been much documented in the news of late, with the reduced daylight hours during the winter months resulting in lower exposure to sunlight, which is required for the body to make the vitamin. The diet does not on its own provide sufficient vitamin D to maintain adequate levels.
Dr William Marshall, Clinical Director of Pathology and Consultant Clinical Biochemist at The London Clinic, says “Vitamin D is important not only to maintain strong bones and allow normal growth in children, it is also involved in muscle function and the maintenance of a healthy immune system. It also helps the body to use the calcium and phosphorus obtained from your food and regulates normal cellular differentiation, thus helping to prevent cancer. If exposure to the ‘sunshine vitamin’ is limited, deficiency can occur, and this can eventually lead to osteomalacia – a disease that causes the bones to become weak and painful. Other associated conditions include muscle weakness, an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers.”
Dr Marshall goes on to state “Sub-optimal blood vitamin D levels are very common, especially during the winter, and some people are more at risk of deficiency, in particular pregnant women, breastfed babies and people with black or Asian skin types, and the longer term health impact is considerable. It is important to be aware of the risks. Deficiency can be detected by a simple blood test and, once identified, is simple to treat with supplements.”
The London Clinic's state-of-the-art pathology laboratory can provide vitamin D tests and results within four hours. Patients must visit their GP or consultant for a referral for any blood tests.
For more press information, or to talk to an expert, please contact The London Clinic Press Office on 020 7535 5507 or at pressoffice [at] thelondonclinic [dot] com
The London Clinic