Updated: Feb 11
Vitamin D is well known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’ and is responsible for many important functions within the body. But, are we getting enough?
Vitamin D is so important, and many of my clients are in their midlife and I cannot stress enough the importance of this vitamin for hormonal health, healthy bones and mental health during this stage of life.
During the winter months in the UK, we don’t get enough vitamin D from the sunlight even if we get outside every day because sunlight is limited and the sun’s rays are too weak. Therefore, most people in the UK are at risk of vitamin D deficiency. The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) published a recent survey which found that 1 in 5 people have low vitamin D levels and this can be a real problem during the winter especially when it extends over long months.
It is vital that we get enough of this important hormone as vitamin D has many important functions within the body and plays a vital role in:
Immunity which plays an important role supporting the immune system. It is so important to enhance immunity during the Covid pandemic
Hormonal health by balancing our sex hormones
Supporting a healthy digestive system
Bone health, as vitamin D regulates the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body, both needed for healthy bones, teeth and muscle
Improving brain development and function
Vitamin D is an essential vitamin for everyone and we get it from two main sources, sunlight and food such as oily fish, egg yolks and mushrooms
There are two types of vitamin D. Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) from plant sources, i.e. mushrooms, and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) from animal sources such as oily fish and egg yolks as well as the supplemental forms. Vitamin D3 is the more powerful of the two types as it is bioavailable and raises blood levels of vitamin D almost twice as much as D2.
A blood test can determine your current levels so you know what dosage you need to take. The blood levels of vitamin D are assessed by measuring 25(OH) D - 25-hydroxy vitamin D in the blood.
It can be a good idea to get tested to see what your levels are so that the correct dosage of supplemental vitamin D can then be given. I would suggest that if you are concerned you or your family are not getting enough to get tested. During Covid-19 this is not possible to get this via your GP but please let me know if you would like help getting a finger prick test and/or interpreting your test results.
Public Health England vitamin D recommendations
Public health England have recently increased the recommended level to 25ug/day during the current pandemic. PHE normally recommends everyone in the general population aged 4 years and older to have 10 micrograms (400UI) of vitamin D daily, throughout the year. This includes pregnant and breastfeeding women and population groups at increased risk of vitamin D deficiency. For all infants from birth to 1 year of age 8.5 to 10 micrograms (340-400 IU/d) of vitamin D per day is recommended; however, children who have more than 500ml of milk (including baby milk formula) every day do not need any additional vitamin D.
There are many vitamin D supplements on the market but sprays/drops are more easily absorbed rather than tablets or capsules and also drops are easier for children to take.
Remember, get advice from health and wellness experts who are qualified and experienced like myself and be very careful of taking your advice form Dr Google.
It is possible to get too much vitamin D/overdose from supplements which can cause Hypercalcemia (abnormally high calcium level in your blood) and signs include nausea and vomiting. However, it is almost impossible to get too much vitamin D from sunlight or from foods alone. So, too much can be as harmful as too little, and if in doubt get your levels checked
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