Vitamin D, the ‘sunshine vitamin’, is a fat-soluble vitamin created by our body from direct sunlight on our skin.
During the summer we can usually get all we need from sunlight, however during the winter months (October-March) it’s recommended we all take a 10mcg (400IU) vitamin D supplement to meet our daily requirements. That's for children over 1 as well as adults. Babies under the age of 1 need 8.5-10mcg per day if breastfed or having less than 500ml of formula per day.
Recent reports have shown that 1 in 5 adults in England may be deficient in Vitamin D. In reality, it’s likely that even more people than this are actually deficient.
Some people may not get sufficient sunlight exposure to get enough vitamin D even during the summer and should therefore consider a vitamin D supplement throughout the year, for example, if you're housebound, wear clothes that cover most of your skin when outdoors or have dark skin.
We are big believers that we should focus on getting the nutrients we need from actual food, but to get enough vitamin D this can be tricky unless you track your intake religiously (which I neither do myself or recommend to others).
We can get small amounts from our diet, from foods such as egg yolks, red meat, oily fish like salmon and sardines, fortified spreads and cereals. However when you look at the total amount of vitamin D per 100ml, it tends to be less than 10% of the recommended daily amount so it is best not to rely solely on plant based milks for your vitamin D. Mushrooms that have been exposed to sunlight are an amazing source of vitamin D, but we don’t eat them every single day and not every box of mushrooms will necessarily have the same nutritional profile.
SO WHAT DOES VITAMIN D DO? 🤔
It plays a role in regulating our calcium and phosphate levels – key nutrients in keeping our bones, teeth and muscles healthy.
In children, low levels can lead to rickets - a bone deformity, weak bones and poor growth. In adults, vitamin D deficiency can lead to a condition called Osteomalacia or ‘soft bones’ causing bone pain and an increased risk of fractures. Low levels can also contribute to feelings of tiredness.
Research suggests that adequate vitamin D intake may also help optimise immune health and mood and reduce the risk of developing several diseases such as osteoporosis, diabetes, hypertension and cancer.
Have you got your Vitamin D supplement ready? Keep your eyes peeled because we have something coming next week that could come in VERY handy.