Vitamin D - Do I Need To Supplement Vitamin D?
Hello and welcome back to another blog post.
I hope you are well.
This blog post will cover Vitamin D, what it is, why we need it and how we can get it.
What is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is a micronutrient that helps calcium get from our food and into our body where it helps to; strengthen bones, muscles and teeth in adults and children.
Most of our Vitamin D should be made in our bodies from exposure to sunlight.
Why do we need Vitamin D?
If there is a lack of Vitamin D there is an increased risk of deformities such as rickets (in children) developing and bone pain caused by a condition called osteomalacia (in adults).
Sources of Vitamin D:
We get most of our Vitamin D from sunshine and not food, which you might find surprising!
Only a small amount of foods contain a limited amount which can also vary during the seasons. So, even if you do eat a well-nutritious and healthy diet you might need to consider supplementing with Vitamin D.
To get Vitamin D from the sun we should try to expose our bare skinned arms and face to the sun for 15 minutes, 2 to 3 times per week (between 10am and 3pm, during April to September) to synthesise enough Vitamin D for the year.
It is very important to remember to take care, protect and cover your skin with suncream and coverings (such as a hat) before burning. So, there needs to be some balance between getting enough Vitamin D and protecting your skin in the sun.
You can find out more about being safe in the sun on the NHS Website.
Food Sources of Vitamin D:
Although food sources contain limited and variable amounts of Vitamin D, here are some of my top foods you can include in your day to ensure you are getting enough.
Cod liver oil,
Fortified food (have vitamin D added), some spreads, breakfast cereals and fruit juices. Some milks (not in the UK) are fortified with Vitamin D too.
How much Vitamin D do I need?
The recommendations in the UK state that in the autumn and winter months everyone - 4 years+, including pregnant and breastfeeding women - should take a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of Vitamin D to support their body’s natural reserves of it.
During the rest of the year (April to September) many should be getting enough from sunlight. If bare skin (arms and face) is exposed to the sun for about 15 minutes, 2 to 3 times per week (between 10am and 3pm, during April to September).
Some people may be at an increased risk of Vitamin D deficiency so should consider year round supplementation.
This includes if you’re not exposed to the sun enough in the summer months or at high risk of not getting enough Vitamin D, which could be a result of spending large amounts of time indoors, or clothing that covers up most of your skin when outdoors.
With weather in the UK being known for its questionable at times even during the summer months and many office or home office workers spending considerable amounts of daylight hours in doors. It is more common than you think people need to supplement through-out the year.
Additionally, if you have darker skin, and are African, African-Caribbean or of South Asian origin, you may also not produce enough Vitamin D during summer months.
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding - All pregnant women should take a 10 microgram (or 400 IU) supplement of vitamin D each day. This will give your baby enough Vitamin D for the first few months of life. If you're breastfeeding, you should consider taking a Vitamin D supplement (containing 10mcg).
Therefore, if any of these factors relate to you or someone you know (aged 4 and over) it recommended you take a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of Vitamin D throughout the year.