Are you getting enough vitamin D?

...THE CHANCES ARE YOU AREN’T, SAYS THE PUBLIC HEALTH ADVICE BODY FOR ENGLAND AND WALES.

Article by Dr Adam Carey

Vitamin D is essential for the absorption of calcium and phosphate in the body, which are vital for the growth and maintenance of healthy bones, muscle and teeth. New advice is that everyone should take a vitamin D supplement (10mcg per day) during the winter.

“While vitamin D supplements have long been recommended for ‘at risk’ groups, including pregnant or breastfeeding women, young children and the over-65s, this is new advice based on evidence looked at over the last five years”, explains Dr Louis Levy, head of nutrition science at PHE.

“Previously we felt that everybody would get enough from sunlight”, he continued. However, an extensive review carried out by the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) suggests this is not the case, with official estimates suggesting one in five adults in England may have low levels.

Sources

Vitamin D It is found in small amounts in foods such as oily fish, egg yolks, some fortified cereals and margarine, but most of our vitamin D intake comes from our skin’s reaction with UV sunlight.

Why is it so important?

Vitamin D help us use calcium to keep our bones strong and healthy, with deficiency linked to the bone weakness and deformity seen as rickets in children, and osteomalacia (softening of bones) in adults.

Why are people becoming deficient?

Vitamin D production is dependent on sun exposure. As much of the western world has become wary of the sun to reduce the risk of skin cancer, this has reduced the peak levels of vitamin D production in the summer months. In the winter months, the daylight hours are too few to be of any benefit and we make little or no vitamin D at all.

Should you supplement your diet?

Public Health England recommends 10mcg per day of vitamin D. However, a daily intake of 25mcg is usually advised to maintain healthy blood levels of vitamin D.

Vitamin D benefits on:


  • BONE HEALTH
  • IMMUNITY
  • INFLAMMATION
  • BLOOD PRESSURE
  • DIABETES RISK
  • DEMENTIA RISK
  • NEUROLOGICAL DISORDERS INCLUDING DEPRESSION
  • COMBATS SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER
  • BETTER SPORTS PERFORMANCE