The Importance of Vitamin D
Its that time of year again when we are all dreaming about sunnier climates and looking forward to a little sunshine in our lives! As well as making us feel good, sunshine has a vital role to play in our production of Vitamin D and is often referred to as the ‘Sunshine Vitamin’
What is Vitamin D and why do we need it?
Vitamin D is made under our skin from direct sunlight when outdoors. It works with calcium and phosphorous to promote healthy bones, teeth and muscles. By having the right combination of vitamin D and calcium it can help to reduce the risk of developing osteomalacia in adults and rickets in children.
How to get enough
Vitamin D is found in some foods but only in small amounts and you cannot get all your requirements from diet alone. Good sources include; oily fish, egg yolks, fortified margarine and breakfast cereals, however the best way to get your vitamin D requirements in the winter months is via a vitamin D supplement.
Following a report (Vitamin D and Health) in 2016 by The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN), Public Health Wales (PHW) advises that ‘All adults and children over the age of one should consider taking a daily supplement containing 10μg (Micrograms) of Vitamin D especially during autumn and winter’. The report also gives additional advice for babies under one and some ‘at risk’ groups.
Which supplements to choose?
Vitamin D supplements can be purchased inexpensively from all major supermarkets, pharmacies, etc. If you are already taking a multivitamin, check how much vitamin D it is providing, as often they do not provide the full 10μg.
It is not advisable to take more that one supplement containing Vitamin D as you might exceed the 10μg recommendation.
If you have been advised by your doctor, or health care professional e.g. dietitian to take a higher dosage of Vitamin D always follow the advice given.
During the winter months (October-March) the general population should be taking a 10μg supplement of vitamin D. During the summer months (April-September), most people should be able to get enough Vitamin D from being outside in the day light and eating a balanced diet.
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By EssentialsMAG nutrition contributor Sarah Powell-Jones, RNutr (Public Health),
Registered Nutritionist with the Association for Nutrition