Did you know 2nd November is Vitamin D Day?
So what’s the big deal about Vitamin D that it deserves a whole day dedicated to it?
Why do we need Vitamin D?
As we all know we need calcium in our diets to have strong bones and teeth but also to help every cell we have in our bodies to function healthily. Vitamin D manages absorption of calcium in our blood, bones and gut but it also has many other immune system functions as is thought to assist in preventing other long term health conditions – deficiency has been linked to asthma, type II diabetes, depression and autoimmune diseases. You may have also heard of rickets – a deformity in children from a lack of Vitamin D. In adults in can lead to osteomalacia which is the softening of bones – leading to fractures and the bowing of legs.
How do I get Vitamin D?
The main source of Vitamin D is from direct sunlight which enables our body to create it but guess what? We live in one of the cloudiest countries in the northern hemisphere and when we do go out in the sun we plaster on suncream (anything above SPF 15 prevents the skin producing Vitamin D)!! We only need 10-15 minutes of direct sunlight a day to get be able to produce adequate levels but during our winter months (November to March), even if the sun is out there is not enough UVB radiation to do this.
Vitamin D can also be gained from dietary sources (fish liver oils, salmon, tuna, eggs, cheese) but they do not provide plentiful supplies like sunlight does.
What can I do now?
The Vitamin D council recommends supplementation in the form of Vitamin D3. Depending on your skin type you may need more or less but the recommended daily intake is 3,000 – 5,000 IU/day in adults, 2,000 IU/day in children and 1,000 IU/day in infants. Higher risk groups include:
– pregnant and breastfeeding women
– young women
– people over 65
– people who have low or no exposure to the sun (including people who cover their skin for cultural reasons)
– people with darker skin tones
So in the UK we should all be supplementing during the winter!! My general rule of thumb is to start taking supplements when the clocks go back and stop when they go forward again.
In the summer months, get a good 10 mins of sun with no sun cream on when you can – but then remember to apply lotion to avoid burning. You should try and expose your arms and legs to get maximum surface area for absorption.
I use the Vitamin D spray once day that is in the link below, each spray should last you for 3 months!