As Winter approaches and the threat of another Beast from the East looms bringing -9 degrees temperatures to our shores the memories of those long sunshine filled days bring to mind the importance of Vitamin D sometimes referred to as the Sunshine Vitamin.
Vitamin D is produced in the skin in response to sunlight and is produced naturally when it has direct exposure to the sun’s rays. It can also be found in certain foods and is recommended to ensure that there is sufficient levels of this vitamin in the blood.
The benefits of Vitamin D are manifold but perhaps the most important is the function it facilitates in helping to regulate the absorption of calcium and phosphorus which supports the efficiency of our immune system.
An adequate amount of this vitamin is important for children’s growth with their development of bones and teeth. If the body is not taking in enough vitamin D there is a high risk of bone disease such as osteoporosis, fragile bones or osteomalcia, soft bones. The impact on bones may result in severe bone or muscle pain in general movement and also stress fractures in the legs, hips and pelvis.
It is fair to say that the term “ little ray of sunshine” conjures up a bright and upbeat image so there are no surprises that Vitamin D plays an important role in our mental state and it is an important ingredient in staving off anxiety and depression. A lack of this vitamin can lead to tiredness and a general lack lustre feeling which is, at times, put down to other reasons.
There are many factors which prevent our ability to take in sufficient amounts of Vitamin D which include using sunscreen, spending too much time indoors, being in areas of high pollution where the sun’s rays do not infiltrate as effectively. Those with a darker skin do not absorb as much Vitamin D due to the higher content levels of melanin.
An obvious source of Vitamin D is in food and these are generally found in products:-
Oily fish - sardines and salmon
It can often be hard to get enough vitamin D each day through sun exposure and food alone, so taking vitamin D supplements can help to boost the levels.
Don’t let the importance of the D be overlooked it has A star qualities ………