Why Vitamin D and where to find it.

Article by Melanie Bibby, our Nutrition Consultant.

Vitamin D seems to have been in health news stories a lot over the last year. It has several important functions. For example, it helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body. These nutrients are needed to keep bones and teeth healthy.

A lack of Vitamin D can lead to bone deformities such as rickets in children, and bone pain and tenderness in adults, known as osteomalacia. Recent studies have also linked deficiency of Vitamin D to Multiple Sclerosis, depression and Schizophrenia.

We get most of our Vitamin D from sunlight on our skin during the summer months. The vitamin is made by our body under the skin in reaction to summer sunlight. We can get enough from food alone. In recent years, fears about over-exposure to the sun have meant that a lot of people are not in the sun long enough to synthesise Vitamin D. It is now recommended that we should all be in the sun for ten minutes each day without covering up.

Vitamin D is also found in a small number of foods. Good food sources are:

  • Oily fish, such as Salmon, Sardines and Mackerel
  • Eggs
  • Fortified fat spreads
  • Fortified breakfast cereals
  • Powdered milk

How much Vitamin D do I need?

Most people should be able to get all the Vitamin D they need by eating a healthy balanced diet and by getting some summer sun.

Groups of the population at risk of not getting enough Vitamin D are:

  • All pregnant and breast feeding women
  • Babies and young children under the age of 5
  • Older people aged 65 and over
  • People who are not exposed to much sun, such as people who cover up their skin when outdoors, or those who are housebound or confined indoors for long periods
  • People who have darker skin such as people of African, Afro-caribbean and South Asian origin.

If you are one of these groups then a good multi-vitamin should be beneficial or if you have any dietary worries then contact Melanie at Theale Wellbeing Centre.

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