It is thought that up to 70% of Australians are Vitamin D deficient. Adequate Vitamin D levels are almost impossible to get from diet alone.
It is suspected that we are in the midst of an epidemic of vitamin D deficiency, due to our use of sunscreens, which protect our skin from sunburn & skin cancer, but also reduce our ability to absorb Vitamin D from sunlight.
It has been suggested that adequate Vitamin D levels can be maintained by exposing 15% of our skin to 15 minutes of sun daily. 15% of our body is roughly equal to leg, arm and face exposure. This type of exposure is often not possible due to a variety of factors, including working in an office, being confined to a retirement home or hospital, or living in a location that is not very sunny. Increasing our Vitamin D levels through adequate sun exposure, produces a dilemma for many people, as they feel concerned that this level of sun exposure can cause skin cancer or premature aging.
In 2004 a study concluded that as many as 40-60% of patients with fibromyalgia were in fact deficient in Vitamin D. The deficiency resulted in the muscle weakness and pain that is often associated with fibromyalgia.
It may also be worth checking your Vitamin D levels if you often experience unexplained muscle pain, but do not have fibromyalgia.
The role of vitamin D in muscles is complex, but simply put Vitamin D helps to maintain muscle strength. Vitamin D has many other roles in the body such as helping Calcium get into our bones, preventing cancer, increasing immuntiy and helping to reduce depression.
Vitamin D levels should always be checked via a blood test ordered through your Naturopath or GP. Vitamin D can be toxic, so make sure you a deficiency exists before you start taking the supplement.