New public health advice suggests that through the autumn and winter months, it's vital that we take vitamin D supplements, as they're essential for good health. We take a look why, below.
A government-commissioned report says that we should be getting 10 micrograms of the vitamin every day, however, experts don't think we get enough of this through our diet and sun exposure.
But what is the importance of vitamin D to our overall health?
Vitamin D benefits
“Vitamin D is also required for maintenance of muscle functioning, the function of the immune system and for normal cell division.”
Vitamin D deficiency
So why do we need a healthy level of vitamin D? Having a deficiency in adulthood can cause osteomalacia, which leaves to aching muscles and strong bone pain.
If you're lacking the vitamin when you're a child, this can cause rickets, this results in softened and weakened bones, which can misshape as they grow.
Vitamin D deficiency symptoms
Boots Pharmacist Angela Chalmers explains the symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency:
“Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include sweating when you are at rest, muscle/joint pain and weakness, bone pain and possibly fractures, tiredness/fatigue and even low mood and depression. If you feel you have these symptoms, see your GP who may offer you a blood test and treatment.”
Vitamin D foods
Nutritionist, Alex Thompson continues: “Oily fish such as mackerel, herring and salmon are naturally high in vitamin D, with a typical 120g serving providing between 10-20ug of vitamin D on average. Fair levels are also provided by eggs (1.5-2ug per egg, depending on the size) and food which has been enriched with vitamin D, such as some breakfast cereals (2ug per 30g serving, on average) and vegetable oil spreads (1ug per 10g serving, on average). For those who do not eat these foods regularly and/or in suffiencient quantity, the use of a daily supplement may be the only viable means to ensure a sufficient intake of vitamin D.”
Sources of vitamin D
Boots Pharmacist Angela Chalmers continues: “The main natural source of vitamin D is from sunlight on skin, so it’s also advisable to make sure you get natural sunlight exposure on your face, neck and upper arms everyday where possible. 15-20 minutes exposure each day is adequate, taking care to avoid sunburn if it's a really sunny day.”
Vitamin D supplement
There are a number of different vitamin D supplements available on the market, here’s just a few.
Holland & Barrett Vitamin D3 Tablets (£3.59) provide 10ug of the essential vitamin. Take one to two tablets daily, preferably with meals, and you can be sure you are getting your recommended daily amount.
Holland and Barrett are offering a FREE Vitamin D3 10ug 100 Tablets for free when placing an order online at hollandandbarrett.com or purchasing in UK stores, which is valid until July 27 2016.
Vitabiotics Ultra Vitamin D, part of the Vitabiotics Ultra range provides an optimum level of high-quality pharmaceutical grade vitamin D3 to help maintain all-round good health including hormone metabolism, blood pressure regulation, mood, immune system, healthy bones and heart health.
Vitamin D levels
But there is a balance - too much vitamin D can lead to high levels of calcium in the blood which can cause heart and kidney problems. Anyone with a chronic condition or taking medication should seek advice from their doctor.
Vitamin D helps maximise muscle potential
For the first time, research has proven that aerobic metabolism, the process that allows the body to convert sugars, fats and proteins into energy in muscles improves with vitamin D supplementation. New findings presented at the annual Society of Endocrinology Conference show the positive correlation between vitamin D and levels of muscle efficiency.
Nutritionist Shona Wilkinson explains that it's important to supplement our diet with a vitamin D supplement because the foods that you'll find it in are only small, so we can't expect them to give us what our body needs.