Nutrition

How to get Vitamin D now the sun’s disappeared.

As we head into the winter months and the sunlight decreases from our so-called summer, the question arises where do we now get Vitamin D from?

What is Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, that is key for the maintenance of minerals such as calcium and phosphorus. It also helps absorb calcium which plays a vital role in forming and maintaining strong bones.  The main source of Vitamin D comes from ultraviolet B radiation from sunlight, which when exposed on the skin can be synthesised by vitamin D3 the active form of Vitamin D.

Benefits of Vitamin D:

  • Absorption of calcium and phosphorus

  • Strengthen bones

  • Brain development and function

  • Can Reduce inflammation

Vitamin D is the most controversial vitamin when comparing recommended daily allowance (RDA). Until last year, Vitamin D only had RDA for babies, pregnant women and the elderly. However, last year, the Public Health of England revised their guidelines and now recommends vitamins D intakes equivalent to an average of 10 micrograms per day. With this being said, every person is unique therefore this number can vary slightly per person due to biologically how much your body needs and how much it absorbs.

Without enough Vitamin D to the body, this can lead to deficiencies. Getting the required amount of Vitamin D is essential for healthy bones and other physiological aspects, therefore deficiencies can lead to rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults.  But the question is where do we get our Vitamin D from as we enter the winter months.  Primarily we obtain Vitamin D from the sun, but secondly through dietary sources.

Key food sources of Vitamin D:

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  • Oily fish; salmon, sardines.

  • Orange Juice

  • Breakfast cereals

  • Red Meats

  • Egg Yolk

  • Cheese

  • Tofu

 

 

Vitamin D does have limiting dietary sources when compared to other vitamins however when looking at this list, vitamin D can seem more attainable from the diet than at first glance due to foods such as red meat and oily fish which is part of many people’s daily diet already.

However, these food sources do contain ranging vitamin D levels that may not meet the RDA, and due to the UK having sunlight that is unpredictable, supplementation may be advised for the winter months.  Nevertheless, supplementation is unique to everyone, and other components such as dosage and ingredients can vary depending on where you buy them and the price. This in itself can lead to consuming more than needed, and extra ingredients that aren’t great for your body. Therefore, before prescribing yourself supplements, do some research and see your local GP or nutritionist, as they will have further advice such as you don’t need supplementation or a blood test to see your Vitamin D levels.

In total, always try to eat a varied nutritious vitamin D packed meal containing your sources such as salmon, eggs, and tofu as they are also great sources of your macro and micro nutrients but if you question whether this is enough as the winter months creep in, go see your GP for advice on supplementation so you can stay healthy during the cold winter months.

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