At my recent Nourish and Flow event I spoke about Vitamin D and the recent changes to our recommended amount. This was quite a popular topic from the event and so I thought I would write a snapshot blog for you all!
With it now being October, the dark nights are drawing in and so are the grey thick clouds! Last year Public Health England set new advice that children and adults over the age of one should be aiming for 10 micrograms (mcg) of Vitamin D per day, doubling from the previous 5mcg recommendation. So why do we need Vitamin D and how can we ensure we get enough?!
Why do we need Vitamin D?
Vitamin D helps to control the amount of phosphate and calcium in our bodies. These nutrients are needed for healthy bones, teeth and muscles. So even if your diet is high in calcium, without enough Vitamin D you cannot absorb the calcium into your bones or cells.
How do I get the recommended amount of Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is naturally present in foods such as egg yolks, oily fish (salmon, sardines, mackerel, fresh tuna etc) red meat, liver, mushrooms and fortified foods (margarine, yogurts, cereals etc). However, the main source of Vitamin D is sunlight. During the summer months (April to September) a balanced diet with skin exposure to sunlight should help most of us get enough Vitamin D.
However, between October and April in the UK we don’t to get enough sunlight and it is very difficult to get enough Vitamin D from food alone. We are now advised to take Vitamin D (10mcg) supplements throughout these winter months to help us get our recommended amount along side a balanced diet (some people may qualify for free supplements such as woman and children on the ‘Healthy Start’ scheme).
Points to consider:
Do not take more than one supplement containing 10mcg of Vitamin D per day – not only is this is unnecessary but it could cause some harm in the future.
If you have specific questions or are concerned with your Vitamin D intake (especially for anyone breast feeding or pregnant) please contact your doctor, health visitor or a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist.
If you are not exposed to a lot of sunlight in summer months or keep your skin covered throughout the year consider taking a supplement all year round.
When exposing skin to sunlight please be careful – this does not mean you have to sunbathe or put your skin health at risk.
Please feel free to email me if you require more specific information 🙂
Feature Image Credit: http://www.thelist.com