I recommend taking a vitamin D supplement. Vitamin D is actually a hormone synthesised by the body from sunlight, and is essential for keeping bones and muscles strong and healthy.

Even a mild lack of vitamin D can cause muscle aches, tiredness and general pains. However, there’s very little vitamin D in our food, only a small amount in egg yolks, oily fish, liver and wild mushrooms. We need sunlight to make vitamin D, and it’s thought that 15 minutes a day of sun exposure to the arms and legs in Caucasian skin is enough to get the recommended amount. People with darker skin may require 30 minutes a day. In both cases, avoid wearing sunscreen, at least for the allocated time, in order to absorb the vitamin D effectively.

In the UK especially, we simply don’t get enough sunlight to synthesise sufficient vitamin-D levels. Therefore we’re all at risk of being deficient. Supplements need to be in the form of D3 to be best absorbed. It is recommended that we take between 600–800 IU (international units) a day but I recommend taking a minimum of 1000 IU. I routinely measure all my patients levels of vitamin D3 and some of them have to take 5000 IU a day in proven vitamin D deficiency. This is so mood and energy can improve, as well as other health benefits.

Vitamin D deficiency is a topic especially close to my heart. A couple of years ago I felt very flat. My mood and energy were extremely low and I tried lots of ways to get out of it and couldn’t shift it. Eventually my colleague forced me to have some blood tests and it revealed I was extremely deficient in vitamin D. I took a high dose supplement and within the month I was back to my usual sparkly self!

MY ADVICE

Get a good quality vitamin D3 supplement and start taking it consistently.