Vitamin D the sunshine vitamin, is one of the most popular vitamins in nutrition discussed by the British media during the winter months. You may or may not have heard reports about the benefits of vitamin D. Eastbourne chiropractor James Revell has written this blog sum it up together and provide you with some key information.
What is Vitamin D?
So, you may be wondering what all the fuss us about.
When our skin is exposed to ultraviolet-B (UVB) sunlight, vit D3 is created on the surface of the skin. When it enters the body, it is transported to the liver via the bloodstream where it is converted into the hormone Calcitriol.
Calcitriol circulates in the blood and helps to regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate nutrients in the body which are essential nutrients in the optimal function of the neuromuscular (nerves and muscles) and immune systems.
What is Vit D Deficiency?
Health experts say that vitamin D deficiency is the most severe of the vitamin deficiencies. There an estimated 1 billion people worldwide who have the deficiency or insufficiency.
A lack of it can lead to muscle weakness, bone deformities in children (rickets), and a weakening of the bones in adults (osteomalacia). Osteomalacia has also been shown to be associated with isolated or general bone pain.
A blood test is the most reliable way to detect if you are deficient.
Who is at Risk of Vit D Deficiency?
Some people who have little or no exposure to sunlight are at risk of developing vitamin D deficiency. People with darker skin are also less likely to receive adequate sunlight intake of vitamin D due to the levels of melanin in the skin which block the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
Sources of Vit D the sunshine vitamin
The truth is it in the title!
The best source of vitamin D comes from adequate, but not excessive, sun exposure during the spring and summer months. It is important to remember to have moderate amounts of sun exposure with skin protection to prevent sunburn and reduce the risk of skin damage.
The majority of people should be able to get enough from sunlight during the months of April through to September.
During the winter months, it can be a lot harder to get enough vitamin D and dietary supplements are often recommended. It is also found in a number of food products such as:
- Oily fish – salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel, tuna
- Red meats
- Egg yolks
- Fortified in breakfast cereals
How much Vitamin D do I Need?
The following recommendations for supplementary intake of vit D are from the Department of Health. Advice from your doctor should be sought before taking any dietary supplements of vitD.
Babies and Young Children
Breastfed babies up to the age of 12 months need 8.5-10 mcg of vit D per day. Formula fed babies shouldn’t be given a supplement as formula is fortified with vit D.
Children and Adults
Children from the age of 12 months and adults need 10 mcg of vit D per day. This includes pregnant and breastfeeding women.
What if I Take Too Much Vit D?
Taking too much dietary vit D supplements over a long period of time can lead to too much calcium in the body. This can lead to weakened bones and can cause kidney and heart damage. If in doubt, contact your doctor for advice.
Thanks for reading,
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