It maybe cold out side, but making sure you are getting enough Vitamin D is one good way to stay healthy this winter.

What does it do for you?

The body produces Vitamin D when we are exposed to sunlight, a reaction occurs in our skin cells when UVB rays are absorbed producing Vitamin D.  This helps the body to absorb other essential minerals including calcium for healthy bones, teeth and muscles.

How does the lack of Vitamin D affect you?

In the U.K. from October until March the body becomes less efficient at producing Vitamin D. This is due to the lack of sunlight.  Without enough, our bodies are not very good at absorbing calcium. This can lead to health issues that could include rickets (in children) and osteomalacia (softening of the bones).

Although our body can store some in our fat cells. This is sometimes not enough to keep our levels healthy during the winter months.  So, it becomes important that we start to supplement our diet with other sources to help our body.

How can you improve your intake?

The recommended daily amount of Vitamin D is 10 micrograms (mcg). We can get it from some foods and it is important that we try to include these in our diet.

Food such as:

  • Oily fish – salmon, fresh tuna, mackerel, kippers and sardines.
  • Egg yolks.
  • Liver
  • Foods fortified with Vitamin D include some cereals (check the labels) and most fat spreads.
  • Red meat.

Vitamin D

Though we can get some of our Vitamin D from these foods.  For some individuals it can be necessary to take a supplement over the winter months.  A supplement of 10 mcg is sufficient for an adult. You should not take amounts larger than this as it can be toxic.

If in doubt consult your GP before taking any supplement especially if you have a health condition.

Holly Denniff ANutr