Hamstring problems are not only one of the most common and time-consuming injuries to treat in athletes; they are also indicated in back pain and sciatica.
If you can’t touch your toes and experience hip, back, knee or ankle pain, it’s almost certainly due to having short hamstrings.
Half the population cannot touch their toes which may have serious consequences from ankle and back pain, to circulatory and arthritis problems. A new study published by Coventry University shews the Bowen Technique to have significantly increase in hamstring flexibility, enabling people to reach or get much closer to touching their toes in only one week.
Vitamin D is also called: Colecalciferol, Ergocalciferol
Vitamin D is a nutrient found in some foods and is required for health and maintaining strong bones. It helps your body absorb calcium which is one of the main building blocks of bone which is obtained from food and supplements. A lack of vitamin D can lead to bone diseases such as osteoporosis or rickets and a greater risk of bone fracture. Vitamin D also has a role in the nerve, muscle, and immune systems. Nerves need it to carry messages between the brain and every body part, and the immune system needs vitamin D to fight off invading bacteria and viruses. Together with calcium, vitamin D also helps protect older adults from osteoporosis. Vitamin D is found in cellsthroughout the body.
The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition in the UK recommends
A vitamin D intake of 10 µg/day (400 IU/day) is now recommended for everyone over the age of one year, especially during the autumn and winter months
Breastfed infants are recommended to take a daily supplement dose in the range of 8.5 µg to 10 µg or 340 -400 IU all year around
Formula-fed babies shouldn't be given a vitamin D supplement until they're having less than 500ml (about a pint) of infant formula a day, as infant formula is fortified with vitamin D
A daily dose of 10 µg/day (400 IU/day) vitamin D supplement is recommended all year long for infants and children under the age of four years
Adults and adolescents are included in these recommendations, with a daily dose of 10 µg/day (400 IU/day) recommended especially in the autumn and winter
Where do I get Vitamin D from?
You can obtain vitamin D in three ways: through your skin, from your diet, and from supplements. Your body forms vitamin D naturally after exposure to sunlight, but in the UK this can be insufficient, except for the summer months. I was advised by a nutritionalist that you need to be slightly pink to have received a sufficient amount of sun. Unfortunately with the worry about too much sun exposure leading to skin aging and skin cancer, we are usually plastered in sun screen, so there is no chance of obtaining it from sunshine. So many people try to get their vitamin D from other sources.
Most foods contain very little natural vitamin D. Vitamin D rich foods include egg yolks, oily fish (sardines, pilchards, trout, tuna, salmon and mackerel), red meats and liver.
Some other foods, like cereal and margarine, often have added vitamin D. In other countries milk and other foods are fortified with vitamin D and other minerals.
Certain groups more susceptible to vitamin D deficiency
Breast fed infants, as human milk is a poor source.
Older adults. Their skin doesn’t make vitamin D when exposed to sunlight as efficiently and their kidneys are less able to convert vitamin D to its active form.
People with dark skin, because their skin has less ability to produce vitamin D from the sun.
People with disorders such as Crohn’s and Celiac disease cannot handle fat properly. Vitamin D needs fat to be absorbed.
Obesepeople, as their body fat binds to some vitamin D and prevents it from getting into the blood.
Certain drugs interfere with the uptake of vitamin D
Vitamin D is being studied for its possible connections to several diseases and medical problems, including diabetes, hypertension, and autoimmune conditions such as multiple sclerosis. Some studies suggest it may protect against colon cancer and perhaps even cancers of the prostate and breast. But higher levels of vitamin D in the blood have also been linked to higher rates of pancreatic cancer. At this time, it’s too early to say whether low vitamin D status increases cancer risk and whether higher levels protect or even increase risk in some people.
If amounts in the blood become too high. Signs of toxicityinclude nausea, vomiting, poor appetite, constipation, weakness, and weight loss. And by raising blood levels of calcium, too much vitamin D can cause confusion, disorientation, and problems with heart rhythm. Excess vitamin D can also damage the kidneys.
Babies: May cause cramps, seizures and respiratory difficulties associated with low levels of calcium.
Children: Rickets, poor growth, tooth delay, irritability, more prone to infections, weak chest muscles and a soft rib cage.
Adults: General tiredness, vague aches and pains and a general sense of not being well. In more severe deficiency (known as osteomalacia), there may be severe pain and also weakness. Muscle weakness may cause difficulty in climbing stairs or getting up from the floor or a low chair, or can lead to the person walking with a waddling pattern. Bones can feel painful to moderate pressure (often more noticeable in the ribs or shin bones). Not uncommonly, people have a hairline fracture in the bone which is causing tenderness and pain. Bone pain often also occurs in the lower back, hips, pelvis, thighs and feet.
I recently asked a GP with all the problems vitamin D deficiency can cause why it is not tested for regularly – the answer cost! How much is your health worth?
The GP’s will come up with all sorts of excuses to put their patients off :-
Another fad – 3 hours later this GP had sent out an emergency prescription to my brother who, I might add, is out in all weathers on his smallholding.
Only people of Asian and African decent tend to suffer with it in the UK – Hmmm do they really make up 28% of the population.
Or just forcibly suggest they know better and it is un-necessary.
If you feel your deficient buy some over the counter – when this person eventually persuaded the GP she was found to have very low D and Osteoporosis.
When you have a “full spectrum” blood test from your GP, it does not include a test for vitamin D. I regularly suggest to patients that if they are having blood tests they should insist on this being tested. The vast majority of those that have pursued this have been put on emergency dosages.
I have experienced a number of patients with vitamin D deficiency. Two examples:-
An 80 year old lady who had severe balance problems, dizziness and was showing symptoms of dementia. I suggested she have her D tested, it came back at a level of 7, 50 is the minimum the NHS accept, and it should be closer to 85. She was put on high dosage D, unfortunately she fell, weak bones resulting in a fractured hip. Five years later she is coping well on her own and both balance and memory have improved drastically.
A 20 year old was constantly feeling exhausted and wanting to sleep all the time. She also had stomach and back pain. Not very good situation coming up to degree finals. Bloods and everything else normal. I said she wouldn’t have been tested for D. The GP almost refused. Again very low, under 20. Within three weeks she was fit and active again.
Prevention is better than cure, a pity the NHS cannot be persuaded of this in the case of vitamin D rather than blasely saying, “If you think your low get some over the counter vitamins” or “take some vitamin D in winter”.