NICE TO MEET YOU, VITAMIN D!
by CookYourLife Correspondent, Yuqi He, MSc student of Public Health and Nutrition, University of Bristol
Editing Joe Locke
We can’t get around the fact that vitamins and minerals are essential for us to live healthy lives. Of the hundreds of life-sustaining vitamins and minerals, around thirteen are essential in supporting our metabolism. Today, we’re going to take a look at vitamin D.
WHERE DOES VITAMIN D COME FROM?
Vitamin D is also called the “sunshine vitamin” since it mostly comes from sunshine rather than food – in other words, our body can produce vitamin D itself when we are exposed to the sun. The stronger the sun, the more vitamin D we can absorb. There’s little risk of our body making too much vitamin D from sun exposure, especially in rainy Britain! but remember we need to be physically outside to feel the benefits – if we stay indoors beside the window even on a sunny day, our body cannot make vitamin D because ultraviolet rays can’t get through the glass. So why not go for a walk outside or have a picnic with friends when the sun comes out!
Although mostly taken from the sun, vitamin D can also be consumed in food including oily fish (such as salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel), red meat, liver, egg yolks and fortified food (like some breakfast cereals). Check out some delicious CookYourLife recipes here featuring vitamin-rich food.
If needed, vitamin D dietary supplements are available from a range of health shops and chemists. CookYourLife recommends . Children and senior citizens need to make especially sure they are getting enough vitamin D. Children aged 1- 4 years old should be given a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D to make sure they get enough. Remember though, that everyone’s body is different with different nutritional needs. One of the best ways to make sure you are getting the right amount of the right kind of nutrients is through a one-to-one nutritional consultation with a professional. Click here to find out more
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF VITAMIN D?
Vitamin D plays a big part in the absorption of calcium and the maintenance of phosphorus levels in the blood, which are extremely important for maintaining healthy bones.
Reduced risk of disease
Vitamin D intake can reduce various diseases such as flu, diabetes and even cancer because of its positive effect on the immune system. Of course, it is no ‘silver bullet’ cure-all however, and must be used as part of a balanced healthy lifestyle including correct food and exercise.
Avoiding vitamin D deficiency
Lack of vitamin D can lead to many problems. Children may suffer from rickets, leading to bone deformities and weakened muscles in the future. For adults, it may lead to osteomalacia which also causes bone pain, tenderness and muscular weakness. Recent research has also linked the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency with obesity.
SYMPTOMS may include:
- Getting sick or infected more often
- Painful bones and back
- Impaired wound healing
- Hair loss
- Muscle pain
So vitamin D is essential to our body! Although it can be gained it from food and moderate supplements intake, the greatest source remains the sun. What better excuse to kick off your shoes and get outdoors this summer!?