This is my first blog post and I would like to highlight that even though I am a doctor, I have never ever tested my Vitamin D levels until the day I took part in a medical research 4 years ago. It was then that the PhD student told me that my levels were <10ng/mL and I was put on Vitamin D supplementation since then.
Recent study shows that 31 percent of the Australian population are Vitamin D deficient (<50nmol/L) and people of non-European origin were 4-5 times more likely to be deficient (1). What is more interesting from this study is that people who are obese and physically inactive are twice more likely to be Vitamin D deficient. So if you think you fall into the 'high risk' category you should really get it checked with your GP.
So you might think, what is the big deal with being Vitamin D deficient? Well, studies have shown that low levels of vitamin D can contribute to a number of serious, potentially life-threatening, conditions such as softened bones; diseases that cause progressive muscle weakness leading to an increased risk of falls, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancer (particularly of colon, breast and prostate gland) (2) and type 2 diabetes.
And in case you are thinking what is with all this mixed messages about getting skin cancer (ie, sun protection) and risk of Vitamin D deficiency, have a read on this article. As for me, I have been on Vitamin D supplement since 4 years ago so I definitely agree with Alice in the article. At the end of the day, prevention is better than cure.
1: Daly RM, Gagnon C, Lu ZX, Magliano DJ, Dunstan DW, Sikaris KA, Zimmet PZ,, Ebeling PR, Shaw JE.
Prevalence of vitamin D deficiency and its determinants in Australian adults aged 25 years and older: a national, population-based study.
Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2012 Jul;77(1):26-35.
2. Peterlik M, Cross HS. Vitamin D and calcium deficits predispose for multiple chronic diseases. Eur J Clin Invest. 2005 May;35(5):290-304.
Dr Nicole Ng (MBBS) is a medical doctor with a passion in women's health and medical research