Many people experience this sensation even with both feet firmly on the ground.
A sudden sensation of dizziness, or that your head is spinning could be a sign of vitamin D deficiency.
It is a symptom of a common type of vertigo called paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV).
Other symptoms include nausea and vomiting, as well as a loss of balance.
However, taking vitamin D and calcium supplements twice a day can reduce the chance of experiencing vertigo, research finds.
The people who are most deficient in vitamin D get the most benefit from it.
Technically, vertigo is the symptom of dizziness and the feeling of the world spinning — it does not have to be in response to heights.
Many people experience vertigo with both feet firmly on the ground.
The condition is rarely serious, but can be very irritating, with 86 percent of sufferers reporting that it interrupts their daily life and leads to some days off work.
Now, research finds that taking vitamin D and calcium supplements can prevent it recurring.
Dr Ji-Soo Kim, study co-author, said:
“Our study suggests that for people with benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, taking a supplement of vitamin D and calcium is a simple, low-risk way to prevent vertigo from recurring.
It is especially effective if you have low vitamin D levels to begin with.”
The study included almost one thousand people, around half of whom were given vitamin D supplements and calcium.
People with low vitamin D levels took 400 IU of vitamin D and 500 mg of calcium twice a day.
The results showed that the supplements reduced the recurrence of vertigo by 24 percent.
People who were more deficient in vitamin D got greater benefit from taking the supplements, seeing a 45 percent reduction in symptoms.
Dr Kim said:
“Our results are exciting because so far, going to the doctor to have them perform head movements has been the main way we treat benign paroxysmal positional vertigo.
Our study suggests an inexpensive, low-risk treatment like vitamin D and calcium tablets may be effective at preventing this common, and commonly recurring, disorder.”
About the author
Psychologist Jeremy Dean, PhD, is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.