Vitamin D

Its’s that time of year again, the clocks have changed, it is darker in the mornings and evenings, and it is getting cold! For those of us living in the UK, we are no longer able to absorb vitamin D from the sunshine, and even in the summer a lot of us aren’t outside much/wear sunscreen/cover up in the sun. During these wintery months, our only source of vitamin D is from the body’s stores, and from food; which have been found to not be sufficient enough to keep our levels in range. This all means that basically we should be taking a supplement of vitamin D for the health of our bones, muscles and teeth.

In 2016, the scientific advisory committee on nutrition (SACN) and Public Health England released a report advising that adults and children over the age of one should have 10 micrograms of vitamin D every day. I started taking a vitamin D supplement last year, and I actually take a 25 microgram one daily as I hope that due the bioavailability of the supplement, I am getting at least 10 micrograms by doing this.

downloadDuring March to September, we are able to absorb vitamin D from the sunlight, or as my university lecturer used to say, when your shadow is smaller than your height. Meaning that the sun is high up enough in the sky for us to get correct exposure. When your shadow is longer than your height, you know that you are unable to absorb vitamin D.  During March to September, people only need to expose their forearms, hands or lower legs for around 10 minutes between 11am-3pm without sunscreen to make enough vitamin D for the day (this time is dependent on skin colour, strength of the sun and how much skin is exposed).

People in high risk groups for vitamin D deficiency and who should take a supplement are: children from birth to four years old, people who are not often exposed to the sun (i.e. the elderly), and people who choose to cover most of their skin whilst outside. Everyone else should consider taking a supplement during the months that they are unable to produce vitamin D from the sun, this includes pregnant and breastfeeding women.

To help you make your mind up about whether or not you should be taking a supplement take a look at the below links:

The BDA have made a nice fact sheet for vitamin D here

And here’s a link to the NHS page



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