Feature

Vitamin D

We all know it is important to get our five a day to make sure our body gets enough vitamins and minerals to keep us healthy.  
Unlike all other vitamins in the diet, Vitamin D is the only vitamin which is not essential in the diet due to our body’s ability to synthesise it through exposure to sunlight.
The primary role of vitamin D is to regulate calcium in the body. This is done by vitamin D increasing the absorption of calcium during digestion whilst causing less calcium to be excreted in urine.
Dietary sources of vitamin D include egg yolks, liver and oily fish however, often the majority of dietary intake is via fortified foods such as milk, cereal or margarine.  
Around 90% of the vitamin D in our body is formed using sunlight with around 10% through our diet.  
However, many of us are not getting enough vitamin D.
Deficiency is especially common in people who do not receive adequate amounts of sunlight and in particularly vulnerable groups of people. Typically a 70-year-old will produce only around 20% of the vitamin D a 20-year-old produces with the same amount of sunlight.  
Therefore deficiency is particularly common in this age group and often leads to a condition called osteoporosis which leads to fragile bones and a high risk of fractures.
Children who are deficient in vitamin D may develop rickets which causes there bones to weaken and fail to harden, it is then common for these children to develop bowed legs because of this. In adults this condition is referred to as osteomalacia.  
Vitamin D has also been linked to reduced risk of cancer and is used in the treatment of psoriasis.
Tips for adequate vitamin D
•    Spend small amounts of time in the sunlight to help maintain vitamin D stores and bone health.  

 

 

 

•    Aim for around 30 minutes of sun exposure to hands and face each day.  
•    If you believe you are not able to get enough sunlight to synthesise enough vitamin D it is recommended you eat fortified foods when possible and to visit your GP.
•    If supplementing with vitamin D be sure not to exceed the recommended dosage as too much vitamin D can be toxic.
•    Be sensible in the sun, and to avoid prolonged exposure, especially without sun cream!

If you have any questions or need any hep or information you contact me at: emma@zestwellness.co.uk

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Posted by
Matthew Ashton, Director of Public Health for Knowsley and Sefton
on April 11th, 2018



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