Vitamin D. It’s one of those vitamins we all know we need, and we know it’s something to do with sunlight, but that’s about the extent of my knowledge. 2nd November has been declared ‘Vitamin D Day’ and is an opportunity for us all to learn more about Vitamin D, its importance to our well-being and how best to get some!
47% of people who don’t regularly buy multivitamins believe that they can get all they need from natural sources and, for many other vitamins, this may well be the case. However, in the UK, experts agree that it’s highly unlikely we can get all the Vitamin D we need from its only decent natural source – sunlight. (Vitamin D is found in some foods, but we’d need to eat them in huge quantities to get enough!)
We are spending more and more time indoors, and our exposure to natural daylight, especially in the winter months is becoming more limited. This is leading to a rise in cases of rickets, so it’s time to take action!
Why do we need Vitamin D?
Here are some of the health benefits we gain when we get enough Vitamin D, either through sunlight, or a supplement…
- It promotes calcium absorption, which, in turn, promotes healthy bone development and repair.
- There is growing evidence to suggest it plays a key part in a healthy immune system.
- Low levels of Vitamin D have been shown to contribute to health conditions such as depression, breast cancer and colorectal cancer. There is also an increased risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia.
- Rickets, a condition where bones become soft and deformed, was common before the early 20th century, when some foods began to be fortified with Vitamin D. However, our increasingly indoor lifestyles are contributing to a rise in rickets once again.
- Lack of Vitamin D is associated with sleep problems and especially sleepiness in the daytime.
Ok, so I need to up my Vitamin D – what do I do?
The most natural way to increase Vitamin D levels is to get out in the sunlight. Not always easy in the UK, granted, and you need to have your face and arms exposed to the sun at its strongest (between 11am and 3pm) between April and September to produce enough Vitamin D in the body. It doesn’t take long to absorb, but, of course, you could be at risk of burning, particularly if you’re very pale.
Some foods contain small amounts of Vitamin D, but we’d need to eat pretty large amounts to get enough! For example, six boiled eggs, 10 rump steaks or more than 10 tins of tuna! Every day. Yum…
So, if we make sure that as well as trying to expose ourselves to some sunlight every day we also take a supplement, we can be certain we are getting enough Vitamin D. We can take it in tablet form, although absorption is not as good. However, there are oil-based Vitamin D products such as Fultium Daily D3, which is absorbed quickly and more easily than dry-powder tablets.
Taking a quality Vitamin D supplement, even through the summer will help to maintain healthy teeth, bones and muscles. Pharmaceutical grade supplements are available in pharmacies. Fultium Daily D3 is available from pharmacies, priced at £3.99 (RRP) for a pack of 30, and a 15ml bottle of drops is £7.99 (RRP). The drops are tasteless (I’ve tried them!) so would be perfect for sneaking into food if your child is resistant, like Small!
Only you can control the Vitamin D levels you get throughout the year, so, unless you spend a lot of time exposed to the sun (and don’t forget, sunscreen blocks Vitamin D production!), think about taking a supplement. It’s easy and takes no time, so make it part of your routine!
You may also like to read my review of Honibe honey lozenges and multivitamins!
Disclosure: We were sent some Vitamin D drops for the purposes of this post. This post contains affiliate links.