Muscle Pain and Vitamin D – The Cause You Didn’t Consider
At Fit4Work Physio Leeds we help clients manage their muscular aches and pains through Physiotherapy and Pilates. Muscle pain can be caused by a variety of factors, but one cause in particular that is rarely considered is a lack of Vitamin D.
What is Vitamin D?
You’ve probably all heard of Vitamin D but what exactly does it do?
Vitamin D is a hormone produced by our body as a reaction to sunlight. Vitamin D is therefore in plentiful supply in the summer-time but less so in the winter. Vitamin D helps to keep our teeth, bones and muscles healthy as it controls the amount of calcium and phosphate in our bodies. It is therefore vital for keeping the musculoskeletal system healthy.
Causes of Vitamin D deficiency include:
Lack of sunshine
The most obvious cause of a lack of Vitamin D is a lack of sunshine. Those who work indoors or rarely venture outside are at an increased risk of Vitamin D deficiency.
Although unavoidable; the older we get the more prone we are to Vitamin D deficiency. This is because as we age, our skin becomes thinner which reduces the amount of Vitamin D it can produce.
Studies have suggested that obesity is associated with a lack of Vitamin D. Vitamin D is stored in fatty tissues, which means less Vitamin D circulates around the body to reach vital areas such as bones and muscles.
Darker skin has been linked with Vitamin D deficiency. As darker skin contains more melanin than paler skin, it offers more protection against the UV rays of the sun, which reduces the skin’s ability to produce Vitamin D.
Am I getting enough Vitamin D?
So, we can all agree that Vitamin D is pretty important, but how do we know if we aren’t getting enough Vitamin D? Here are a few of the main symptoms associated with Vitamin D deficiency:
As Vitamin D travels through your body, it enters your muscles, which helps with the contraction of muscles and strength of the musculoskeletal system as a whole. A lack of Vitamin D can lead to muscle weakness, falls and general achiness.
A lack of Vitamin D can cause bones to weaken, which can increase the risk of fractures and breaks.
In the UK, we love discussing the weather; whether it’s moaning about the rain, or celebrating a rare balmy summer’s day. As well as being a great conversation starter, the weather is probably affecting you more than you realise. It’s no coincidence that in summer we often feel happier than in the dark winter-time. A lack of sunshine in the winter means a lack of vitamin D, which can cause tiredness, aches and pains.
What should I do to ensure I am getting the right amount of Vitamin D?
If you think you may be lacking in Vitamin D due to any of the symptoms above, you should go to your GP for a blood test. The blood test will identify if you are lacking in Vitamin D and your doctor will be able to advise you on tenable solutions.
Unfortunately, increasing your Vitamin D intake is not just as easy as eating more of the right types of food. Public Health England recently released new guidance on Vitamin D intake which suggests that everybody above the age of 1 should consider taking 10 micrograms of Vitamin D supplements daily in autumn and winter.
Increasing your Vitamin D intake could reduce symptoms of muscle pain. As well as seeking medical advice, Physiotherapy could also help to manage muscle pain.
Get in touch with Physio Leeds today for advice on managing muscle pain.