Vitamin D is an essential nutrient for the body as it promotes calcium absorption in the gut and is needed for healthy bone growth. Without sufficient vitamin D, the bones become thin, brittle or misshapen. Vitamin D has other roles in the body, including modulation of cell growth, neuromuscular and immune function, and reduction of inflammation.
It is well understood that a lack of the nutrient could lead to a number of unsettling changes in the body such as rickets in children and bone pain caused by a condition called osteomalacia in adults.
There is another warning sign that indicates you may not have enough vitamin D and this includes getting severe headaches.
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Vitamin D deficiency: Feeling a pain in this body part is a warning
Research reveals that a lack of the nutrient can raise the risk of chronic headaches.
A Finnish study found that men with the lowest levels of vitamin D were more than twice as likely to have headaches at least once a week, compared to those with the highest levels.
Chronic headaches were also more frequently reported by men who were examined from October through May, when vitamin D levels in the northern hemisphere are much lower.
What the experts say?
The researchers weren’t entirely sure why the sunshine vitamin might help ward off head pain, but they suggest it may be protective against inflammation or nerve-related pain.
Dr Christine Gerbstadt said: “While no perfect study has been conducted on this topic, a trend has clearly emerged showing that people with healthy vitamin D levels have a slower incidence of chronic headaches.
The bonus in treating low serum vitamin D is improvement in the many other important health functions of the vitamin.”
Vitamin D deficiency: Experiencing a chronic headache is a warning sign of deficiencies
How much vitamin D does a person need?
The NHS said: “Children from the age of one year and adults need 10 micrograms of vitamin D a day.
“This includes pregnant and breastfeeding women, and people at risk of vitamin D deficiency.
“From about late March/early April to the end of September, the majority of people should be able to get all the vitamin D they need from sunlight on their skin.”
Thankfully, restoring vitamin D levels to normal is relatively easy.
This can be done either from eating more foods such as fatty fish, beef liver, cheese, egg yolks and fortified foods or supplements could be used.
Dr Gerbstadt suggested: “Vitamin D is best absorbed when eaten with food containing fat such as low-fat yogurt, olive oil dressing or avocado.”
The NHS warns against taking too many vitamin D supplements, however, as this can cause too much calcium to build up in the body.