What is Vitamin D? It is an essential fat-soluble vitamin that is needed for bone, teeth and muscle health and also for immune system support
Every cell in your body has a receptor for vitamin D, and it affects several of your body’s systems.
The best source comes from sun when UVB rays interact with our skin; this process also turns it into a hormone (called activated vitamin D or calcitriol)
Because vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin we store it in our fat cells for use during the winter, clever because sunlight between October and march doesn’t have strong enough UVB rays for our body to use so being able to store sufficient amounts during April to September is vital
Your body makes around 90% of the vitamin D it needs from sunlight and about 10% from food sources such as eggs.
The most important form of vitamin D is D3 which is the most common type of supplement.
Like most vitamins and minerals, they have a symbiotic relationship, and the same applies to vitamin D, which aids the absorption of calcium so our bones can utilize it.
Vitamin D deficiency can lead to increased risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures, other signs of deficiency include
Fatigue and tiredness
Depression and low mood (Seasonal Affective Disorder)
Frequent colds and infections
it can also cause muscle weakness and pain and a condition called Myopathy
How do I get it?
For our skin to use the UVB rays, we need unprotected exposure to the sun on our forearms and/or legs
10 minutes daily during the summer should be enough to avoid deficiency
Do this in the morning or late afternoon avoid 11 am to 4 pm when the sun is strongest and apply sunscreen if you are outside for prolonged periods
Food sources include
Salmon (526iu per 100grams)
Sardines (193iu per 100 grams)
Herring (216iu per 100 grams)
Canned Tuna (268iu per 100 grams)
Egg yolks (87iu)
Mushrooms (7iu per 100 grams)
Try this tasty vitamin D rich recipe
Cod Liver Oil
Vitamin D3 Supplements
Cow and plant-based milks
How much do I need?
The current recommended daily dose for an average adult is 10-20 micrograms, this may be shown as 400-800iu or 10-20ug, confusing I know but different countries and suppliers may use different forms of measurement
You should be able to get enough Vitamin D during the summer months from exposure to the sun and eating a diet with foods high in it, in the winter taking a supplement may be beneficial especially if you do suffer from SAD or low mood
For now, make the most of our lovely weather and top up your vitamin D
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