Vitamin D deficiency: The simple breakfast swap to reduce the risk of symptoms

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Vitamin D is often referred to as the “sunshine vitamin” due to the fact it naturally occurs from sunlight. During the winter months, when the levels of sunlight are low in the UK, vitamin D deficiencies can become more common.

Luckily, vitamin D can be sourced from a number of foods.

This means that people can avoid the symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency simply by eating a healthy, balanced diet.

However, understanding which foods are high in the vitamin may be confusing.

Luckily, scientists and food producers are able to fortify foods to add vitamins and minerals into food items that they might not otherwise occur in.

These foods are meant to improve nutrition and add health benefits.

Many grains are enriched with vitamins, and as a result, there is one breakfast item which could help pack a healthy vitamin D punch.

Although some breakfast cereals are high in sugar, there are plenty of low-sugar, fortified options available.

Popular brands including Quaker Oats, Kellogg’s Special K and Multi-Grain Cheerios are fortified with vitamin D.

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In 2018, Kellogg’s ramped up the vitamin D contents of many of its cereals to include up to half of an adult’s recommended daily intake.

A breakfast drink item that is sometimes fortified is orange juice.

And even some brands of mushroom are beginning to be fortified – perfect to have alongside an omelette or scrambled eggs, another food which is rich in vitamin D.

What are the risks of a vitamin D deficiency?

Vitamin D helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body.

These nutrients help to keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy.

The NHS warns: “A lack of vitamin D can lead to bone deformities such as rickets in children, and bone pain caused by a condition called osteomalacia in adults.”

What are the symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency?

Some signs and symptoms of a deficiency may include:

  • Fatigue.
  • Bone pain.
  • Muscle weakness, muscle aches, or muscle cramps.
  • Mood changes, like depression.

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