During the autumn/winter months there is one vitamin our body can be deprived of, that’s Vitamin D, commonly known as the sunshine vitamin. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium for healthy bones and teeth.
Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin produced when sunlight hits our skin (the main source of vitamin D is the sun). It can be obtained from a limited number of food sources such as oily fish and dairy however, the main source is the sun. Vitamin D is a vital vitamin for bone health as it is responsible for calcium absorption, so remember if your levels are low, you are most likely going to be low in calcium too, hence one of the symptoms of vitamin D deficiency includes aching bones. Other symptoms include; low mood/mild depression, tiredness and fatigue, muscle and joint pain.
Although it is important to protect yourself from the suns rays, it is also important to get enough exposure to the sun each day. In the UK that is a difficult task, especially in the winter when daylight hours are reduced. According to experts in the UK ultraviolet light is only strong enough to make vitamin D during April to September (during the hours of 11am to 3pm). This means during half the year, if our vitamin D stores are not toped up during those critical moths, alternative measures are needed.
There are many other factors that can affect ones vitamin D status these are listed below:
How do you avoid a deficiency? A holiday in a sunny destination would top up your vitamin D levels; however, as much as taking a long holiday in a sunny destination abroad sounds like the perfect solution, for many of us it is not always an option. This is why during the winter months it is a wise idea to supplement with vitamin D as an insurance policy to safeguard against a deficiency. Yet remember, vitamin D is fat soluble therefore if you overdo the supplementation is can result in toxicity (so this means stick to the directed dose!). If you believe you have a deficiency or may be low in your vitamin D, ensure pay a visit to your doctor first.