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Vitamin D 101

With the weather still being quite gloomy in the UK at the moment… we were inspired to share a bit about Vitamin D! Especially with it being National Nutrition and Hydration week! Our Registered Associate Nutritionist Paula put this blogpost together to quickly educate you all on the main things about Vitamin D! Hope this quick and informative blogpost will be of interest and help you ensure you get enough Vitamin D in your diet and throughout everyday activities! 🙂

What is Vitamin D? 

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin which can travel into your blood circulation and be stored in your body’s tissues. It is the only vitamin that can be produced in the body on its own, making it more of a hormone than a vitamin! Vitamin D is synthesised in the skin when UVB radiation is present, meaning your body produces it when you are outside in the sun! It can also be obtained from the diet, however, the majority of Vitamin D comes from synthesising it in our bodies when exposed to UVB rays! 

Importance of Vitamin D:

Vitamin D is required for the regulation of calcium and phosphorus metabolism. It is therefore important for musculoskeletal health and Vitamin D deficiencies can often lead to Rickets, Osteomalacia, bone fracture, poor muscle strength and weak immunity! Vitamin D deficiency is even linked with depression! Have you ever noticed you are a lot happier when there is sunlight outside? 🙂 Maybe it’s our bodies giving us clues about the importance of Vitamin D!

Sources of Vitamin D:

As mentioned before- our bodies can make vitamin D when we’re exposed to ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. It is also found in foods such as eggs, mushrooms and oily fish as well as some fortified food items like breakfast cereals and fat spreads! However… none of these foods provide us with nearly enough Vitamin D for our needs. Therefore, the main source of Vitamin D that we can get is by production of it in our own bodies!

However, as you may imagine – not all of us make enough Vitamin D, especially in the winter! This means that we may be deficient throughout the year, especially if you live somewhere where there isn’t much sunlight or work at a job that consists of you being indoors for the majority of the time!

Should we be supplementing?

Probably!…Unless you live near the equator (we’re very jealous!), then during a good chunk of the year you just do not get enough sunlight to produce enough Vitamin D! In the UK, the crucial months of Vitamin D production are late March/early April up until September. A quick trick to find out if your body is synthesising Vitamin D is to walk outside when it’s sunny- if  your shadow in front of you is shorter than your height- your body is producing Vitamin D! 🙂 However, that unfortunately means that between September and March – our bodies are using up any leftover stores and when those are gone- we become deficient in Vitamin D. That’s why it is recommended for all individuals to supplement with Vitamin D in the Fall-Winter season! Public Health England (PHE) advises that during autumn and winter seasons people should consider taking a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D. This is because although you can get some vitamin D from dietary sources, unfortunately it is very hard to get enough without supplementation! In addition to that, do make sure to take regular breaks from your work and go for a 10-15 minute walk around the block when the sun is shining! It won’t only make you feel happier but will boost that Vitamin D production if the seasons are right!

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