The importance of vitamin D for our health has been highlighted in recent years. In fact, in 2016, Public Health England (PHE) published new advice recommending everyone to take a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D from October to April, and for children to take one all-year round.
“Vitamin D is one of the most essential vitamins we can supplement, owing to our increasingly indoor lifestyles and the fact that food sources of the vitamin are limited,” comments Keeley Berry, new product development executive at BetterYou. “Known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’, vitamin D plays many a crucial role within the body; ensuring the immune system remains robust to protect the body from common colds and a growing list of autoimmune diseases. It also helps to regulate calcium absorption and delivery to the bones, promoting normal growth amongst children, helping to prevent fractures and keeping teeth strong.
“Vitamin D also contributes to our general wellbeing, with deficiencies commonly manifested in the form of muscle weakness, feeling fatigued and low mood.”
Nutritional therapist Rose Holmes, education and training manager at Rio Health, agrees: “Vitamin D is an essential vitamin that becomes a hormone within the body. It has important roles in skeletal health, immunity, brain function, mood regulation and blood pressure and may help protect from cancer. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to a wide variety of health problems including osteoporosis, depression, insomnia, diabetes, asthma, chronic pain, fibromyalgia, psoriasis, heart disease immune issues including cancer and autoimmune diseases.”
The most notable signs of a vitamin D deficiency can often be overlooked and attributed to other ailments, with symptoms being left under the radar. Constant coughs and colds, feeling tired all of the time, gut problems, aching bones and even low mood can all be signs that your vitamin D levels are low.
How can we ensure we are getting the recommended daily allowance of vitamin D?
The body makes around 90 percent of the vitamin D it needs, but this process can only happen when unprotected skin (bare skin, without clothing or SPF protection) is exposed to direct UV light from the sun. This means that, for those living in the UK and other parts of the northern hemisphere, it can be difficult to ensure our recommended levels are met during the darker autumn and winter months.
“Combining a healthy lifestyle with everyday supplementation provides the best chance of meeting your daily allowance,” explains Berry. “Aim to expose your skin to 10-20 minutes of sunshine each day (without protection, avoiding the midday heat) and follow a diet which includes vitamin D food sources where possible.
“Whilst the Scientific Advisory Commission on Nutrition has concluded that it’s difficult to obtain adequate levels from food sources, fatty fish such as salmon, halibut and mackerel provide good sources of vitamin D, along with fortified foods such as cereals and some yoghurts. Egg yolks also provide a great source of the nutrient – but only when sourced from hens that are fed vitamin D.”
Holmes also recommends mushrooms, such as mitake and portobello, and raw milk: “Whilst raw milk is thought to contain some natural vitamin D, synthetic vitamin D is added to some pasteurised milks including cow’s milk and soy milk.”
As it is difficult to get adequate levels of vitamin D through food sources and UV light, supplementation is recommended.
BetterYou’s range of DLux Daily Vitamin D Oral Spays
Best Choice’s range of Vitamin D Oral Sprays
Epigenar’s Vitamin D3 & K2 Drops