Bring on the sun – vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin

In the summer months, you may be able to get your daily vitamin D by exposure of your skin to the sun.  Even in summer however, we may not get enough vitamin D because we apply sun screen.  This is a sensible precaution, given the risk of skin cancer.  Even so, it might be worth spending a few minutes in the sun between 11am and 3pm, unprotected by sun screen as this will ensure you get your daily vitamin D . In winter months, in the northern hemisphere, we tend to wrap up warmly leaving not much skin exposed and our vitamin D levels might fall.

We can also get vitamin D from our food.  For vegans this usually takes the form of fortified cereals, juices and plant-based spreads so vegans may need to take a supplement.

Vitamin D aids the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, both of which are important for bone health. Deficiency may lead to osteoporosis which in turn leads to fractures. Vitamin D deficiency is also associated with increased risk of cancer and multiple sclerosis, although this is hotly debated in the science community.  Other conditions which may be associated with low vitamin D levels include Alzheimer’s disease, some heart problems, autism and Parkinson’s disease.  

It seems science just keeps finding more and more benefits of vitamin D, so it’s really important that you get your daily allowance.  Adults require 600 IU daily.  Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin and so is best absorbed if a food rich in oil is consumed at the same time. For instance, olive oil salad dressing, nuts or seeds.  When choosing a supplement, look for one with vitamin D3, the form of vitamin D that your body makes from the action of UV light on the skin.  

Stay healthy, stay happy
Janet x

Article Copyright © 2015 40plusandalliswell

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