Wake up in darkness. Spend the day indoors (think office or lecture hall). Return home in darkness. Sound familiar? This time of year, our skin rarely sees sunlight which can negatively impact our Vitamin D absorption. But, there are ways in which you can help stop the scales from tipping towards the ‘deficiency’ end of the spectrum. Here is the lowdown on how Vitamin D supplements can help you stay healthy through winter.
Vitamin D Supplements
Public Health England recommends that anyone over the age of 1 should consider taking a daily supplement of vitamin D. When the clocks go back at the end of October, we will naturally see less sunlight meaning we have to find our Vitamin D (which we would usually get from sunlight) from other sources.
Doctor Pixie McKenna says, "Our Vitamin D stores typically run low in the winter, ironically at a time when we want our immune systems at an all-time high to help fend off all those winter germs. Vitamin D plays a key role in regulating our immune systems. We simply cannot source enough Vitamin D in our diets.”
“Sun exposure is the other way of boosting it but most of us barely see the light of day once the clock goes back. I think it's fair to say most of us exhaust our Vitamin D overdraft come winter which is why I advise all my patients to winter-proof themselves with Vitamin D supplements".
Not sure how much to take and how often? Visit a pharmacist in-store to discuss your requirements.
Our bodies can rely on sun rays alone to provide enough vitamin D between late-March to the end of September. But, it’s not the only source. Although it is very difficult to get enough vitamin D from food alone you can also work the vitamin into your diet by enjoying foods such as cheese, egg yolk, oily fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, sardines), liver and red meat.
What is Vitamin D & Why Do we Need it?
Vitamin D is responsible for a whole host of important functions within our bodies and without it we can run into trouble pretty quickly. This nutrient comes in two forms (Vitamin D2 from plants and Vitamin D3 from sunlight) and is needed to help the body absorb calcium and phosphate from our diet. The reason it’s so important is because it helps build healthy bones, teeth and muscles. Vitamin D is also useful for the body as it contributes to supporting the health of the immune system, brain and nervous system.
Doctor Pixie advises, "the groups most at risk of Vitamin D deficiency groups include the under 5’s, over 65’s and pregnant women, as their bodies don’t absorb Vitamin D as well."