What is Vitamin D and why is it so important?
Managing your health, and building a strong immune system, has never been more crucial, making Vitamin D essential. Here are some tips on the best way to get the ‘sunshine vitamin’.
Vitamin D is a powerhouse nutrient, which our bodies produce naturally from the sun’s rays. However, what happens if you’re not getting enough sunshine, particularly in the long dark days of winter and during COVID-19 restrictions?
Why Vitamin D is important?
This family of compounds (D-1, D-2, and D-3) supports fundamental processes in our body. Particularly the way we absorb calcium and phosphate. It’s like a chain reaction. Without enough Vitamin D, your body can’t hold on to the nutrients that build healthy bones and muscles.
In the past, vitamin D and calcium deficiency caused a widespread condition called rickets, which deformed the bones of developing children. Now, it’s considered vital to the health of all ages and protects you against bone conditions such as osteomalacia and osteoporosis.
Vitamin D also plays a key role in our immune system. Though there is no confirmed evidence it protects you against coronavirus or speeds recovery, clearly anything that boosts your resilience is vitally important!
There is strong evidence that it helps combat flu and heart and circulatory conditions, as well as alleviating depression and lethargy. Interesting, there are indications that vitamin D also improves your body’s sensitivity to insulin, reducing the risk of Type 2 diabetes.
How to get vitamin D from sunlight
The more time you spend outdoors, the greater the chance of naturally producing vitamin D. Especially around the middle of the day, and from late March to early September.
It’s a myth you can produce vitamin D by sitting near a window or from using sunbeds!
Foods with Vitamin D in
Without sufficient access to sunlight, you must rely on food containing vitamin D.
Eggs, red meat, salmon and oily fish are rich sources, and you can find fortified products with added vitamin D such as milk, yoghurt, juices and cereals.
Signs and treatments for Vitamin D deficiency
Indications you’re not producing or consuming enough vitamin D include:
- and bone or muscle pain
- you could even experience stress fractures.
Our doctors use a quick blood test to diagnose vitamin D deficiency, and sometimes X-rays to evaluate long term impact.
As everyone should consider using Vitamin D supplements, they will advise you on the correct dosage. An important insight as it is possible (though rare) to overdose on vitamin D, which becomes toxic if it accumulates in your system.