Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin which helps regulate the amount of phosphate and calcium in the body. We need these nutrients to keep our teeth, bones and muscles healthy.
Vitamin D helps give bone strength by increasing bone density. Lack of vitamin D will lead to bone deformities in children such as rickets and bone pain in adults.
Weak bones can also lead to osteoporosis, the loss of bone density which will lead to fractures.
Vitamin D also makes our immune system stronger. When we are deficient in Vitamin D especially in winter we tend to get more colds and the flu. The stronger our immune system the better chance we have of fighting off infection.
Vitamin D is known as the Sunshine vitamin. About 70-80% of vitamin D is formed from sunlight whilst the remainder is absorbed from the diet.
Your skin produces Vitamin D from sunlight. From early April to the end of September, most people should be able to get all the vitamin D they need from the sun. However care should always be taken when sunbathing as you don’t want to burn. You therefore need to be sensible.
Sun exposure at the wrong time of day can lead to skin damage and cancer. The best times to sunbathe are early morning or late afternoon. You need to avoid the strong sun between 11am – 3pm.
Good food sources of Vitamin D
Vitamin D is found in a small number of foods. Sources include:
- Oily fish like wild salmon, mackerel and sardines
- Fish oils
- Red meat
- Egg yolks
I wouldn’t advise eating large quantities of red meat and liver to get vitamin D. I would suggest consuming these foods once a week.
If opting for any meat or liver you should always choose organic. Non organic meats will be injected with antibiotics and hormones.
How Much Vitamin D do I Need?
As mentioned before, sunlight is the best way to get vitamin D, from the end of march/ early April to the end of September this isn’t an issue. However during the winter months when the days are darker and shorter, you won’t be exposed to sunlight.
With most of us in lockdown we are spending even more time indoors. When we do go outside, due to the cold weather we will be wearing clothes that cover most of our skin.
During the winter months you will need to get vitamin D from your diet, and unfortunately most of us won’t be getting enough from food alone. Vitamin D is essential for a healthy immune system, so you may need to take a supplement. You can have a simple blood test to check your levels.
The daily recommended dose of vitamin D is 10 micrograms (400 IU) a day. If you do go for a supplement it should only be taken during the winter months and it is important you don’t end up taking too much. If you are on medication you must consult your GP before taking any supplement.
I hope you have found this article useful. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me, and if you would like to kick start your health journey with me check out my coaching packages Coaching Packages