It’s vital to have adequate levels of vitamin D in our blood. From regulating the absorption of calcium and phosphorus to facilitating normal immune system function, vitamin D plays an important role.
It’s common knowledge that vitamin D is important for normal growth and development of bones and teeth, as well as for improved resistance to certain diseases. If our bodies don’t get enough vitamin D, we may be at risk of developing abnormalities such as soft or fragile bones.
The human body produces vitamin D naturally when it’s directly exposed to sunlight. It’s also possible to absorb it through certain foods. However, how much vitamin D you actually need and how you go about getting it, isn’t always quite so clear.
We challenge a few of the common myths surrounding vitamin D to help you sort the facts from the fiction.
Exposure to sunlight should be sufficient
For some, the main source of vitamin D will derive from exposure to the sun. Human skin can produce large amounts of vitamin D when plenty of skin is exposed and the sun is high in the sky. In fact, the body is designed to get the vitamin D it needs in this way.
However, for those of us living in less sunny climes, it can be difficult to obtain enough vitamin D to maintain the appropriate levels. Between October and April, the sun may simply not be strong enough. Even during the summer months, cloud cover can block the necessary UVB rays. This is further compounded by the use of sunscreen when the sun does shine. Of course, it’s vital to protect our skin from harmful UVA rays, but in doing so, we block the UVB rays which are necessary for vitamin D production. Dark skin pigmentation also plays its part in affecting vitamin D production. Darker skin requires prolonged exposure to the sun to produce the same levels as fairer skin.
Furthermore, lifestyle also affects the amount of time spent exposed to sunlight. Modern life often involves hours spent driving and working indoors, thus limiting our ability to quite literally, soak up the sun.
The right foods are full of vitamin D
From oily fish to eggs and milk, there are plenty of foods that are naturally rich in vitamin D. The sticking point for many of us, however, is having an accurate awareness of just how much of that food is required to maintain the right levels.
While oily fish does provide the best source of vitamin D, it isn’t necessarily a daily staple of many people’s diets. Where the fish comes from will also impact the level of vitamin D per portion. Wild fish will almost certainly contain considerably more vitamin D than its farmed equivalents.
Fortified foods have vitamin D added during production and while the consumption of such foods can increase vitamin D intake, it’s still unlikely that this will be sufficient to provide all of your daily vitamin D requirements.
Only ‘at risk’ individuals require supplements
The Department of Health has raised awareness of the risk of vitamin D deficiency amongst certain groups. It has made recommendations suggesting that children under 5 and adults over 65 should be using a vitamin D supplement all year round. The recommendation also applies to pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, those who have little or no exposure to the sun and those with darker skin pigmentation.
However, the Government now recommends that everyone should consider taking vitamin D supplements during the winter months. A report by Public Health England voiced concerns that sufficient production of vitamin D may not be achievable, at this time of the year, through diet alone. When sunlight is scarce, not enough vitamin D is produced through the summer months to maintain adequate levels throughout the winter too.
Enough Is Enough
A simple blood test can determine whether you have adequate levels of vitamin D. While tests can highlight those who are vitamin D deficient and may be at risk of developing certain conditions, merely having an adequate level of vitamin D won’t ensure robust health. As such, vitamin D may be better supplemented by means of tablets, capsules or liquids.
Simply taking a multivitamin, however, may not be enough. Many multivitamins contain low levels of vitamin D compared to what is required to reach an optimum level. With this in mind, a specially formulated vitamin D supplement may just be the best line of defence.
With darkness descending upon us as the clocks go back, making sure you’re getting enough Vitamin D is essential. A recent study found that 19% of British adults have low levels of Vitamin D, and these low levels could only get worse during the autumn and winter months.
Studies have shown that we need around 10 minutes of sunshine a day to get your Vitamin D fix, but of course, everyone is different and your levels will not only depend on the seasons but also on how often you stay indoors, how much your clothing covers your skin and different skin pigmentations.
It’s important for our bodies to get enough Vitamin D daily to ensure we stay strong and sharp throughout the years. It helps us absorb calcium which is vital in forming and maintaining strong bones, improving brain development and function and reducing inflammation.
But how much do you need to take? Again, it varies person to person but the NHS recommends that everyone should get 10 micrograms a day. You can absorb Vitamin D through certain foods like oily fish, tofu, eggs and cheese, but also through supplements like our SunVit-D3 400IU Tablets or SunVit-D3 400IU Capsules.
If you’re not sure whether this is enough for you, you can take a home Vitamin D Blood Test Kit, or visit your GP for more advice.
The winds are picking up, the rain is pouring, the nights are getting darker and yes, the heating is officially on – that’s right, it’s autumn! And with autumn comes the dreaded cold and flu season. Months of sneezing, coughing and stuffy heads, but there is a way to help keep these viral germs at bay – daily Vitamin D!
A study published in the British Medical Journal earlier this year found that taking Vitamin D supplements can help protect against acute respiratory infections like the common cold, flu and even pneumonia. As we know, Vitamin D is vital for bone and muscle health but it could have benefits beyond that when it comes to infections of the sinuses, throat, lungs, and airways.
Lead researcher Professor Martineau, from Queen Mary University of London, stated that “The bottom line is that the protective effects of vitamin D supplementation are strongest in those who have the lowest vitamin D levels and when supplementation is given daily or weekly rather than in more widely spaced doses.”
The sun is finally out here in the UK and it’s definitely feeling like Summer! But that doesn’t mean you should scrimp on your Vitamin D intake. We know that sunlight is a great natural method of making Vitamin D in your body, but how do you know you’re getting enough?
Studies show that you need around 10 minutes of sunshine a day to get your Vitamin D fix. However, it’s not as easy as it sounds – first of all, sitting by a window or in the car won’t work as the glass will block out UVB rays. Secondly, to get the right amount of Vitamin D by sitting in the sun, you’ll need to skip the sunblock! Something we don’t recommend too often due to the sun’s harmful rays. Thirdly, we know that everyone is different – some people spend a lot of time indoors all day (due to illness, disability or working conditions, for example), cover their skin for religious reasons or work, have different skin pigmentation and, of course, living here in the UK, we sadly don’t get much sun, even in the summer months!
It’s important for our bodies to get enough Vitamin D daily to ensure we stay strong and sharp throughout the years. Not only does it help us contribute to normal blood levels of calcium, but also to the maintenance of normal bones, the maintenance of normal muscle function and the normal function of our immune system.
So, what can you do to help boost your Vitamin D intake this summer? Well, why not try SunVit-D3’s convenient supplements? It’s a cost-effective way to give you the peace of mind to ensure you’re staying healthy throughout the year. Our bestselling 400IU & 800IU tablets or capsules will provide you with the perfect amount of Vitamin D, even if you’re out and about in the sunshine daily.
If you’re concerned you are not getting enough Vitamin D overall, you can take a home test with our SunVit-D3 Vitamin D Blood Test Kit. It’s a convenient way to truly know if you have low levels or to regulate your vitamin D intake, without the need to visit your GP.
We can now inform you that our SunVit-D3 1,000 IU Tablets are certified by Informed-Sport and Informed-Choice and have undergone an extensive procedure carried out by the anti-doping laboratory LGC Sport and Specialised analytical service to ensure that it is free from a wide range of substances banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
Almost 99% of your vitamin D supply is used for regulating the calcium in the body with the remaining part utilised for strengthening the immune system and maintaining muscle strength, all of which have benefits for dancers. Long hours training inside, especially in winter can lead to low levels of vitamin D due to a lack of sunlight. So why should dancers consider supplementing?
An extensive review carried out by The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) has suggested that everyone over the age of one needs to consume 10 micrograms of vitamin D each day in order to protect bone and muscle health. Public health officials say, in winter months, people should consider getting this from 10 microgram supplements, if their diet is unlikely to provide it.
Vitamin D3 is important for us all, some more so than others. In November 2014 the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) published their new guidelines for increasing Vitamin D supplement use amongst high risk groups.
We are attending Primary Care and Public Health 2014 at the NEC Birmingham, exhibiting our product range and giving away free samples!! Event is free of charge for practising health care professionals. Come and visit our stand.
The influence of winter vitamin D supplementation on muscle function and injury occurrence in elite ballet dancers: A controlled study by Matthew A. Wyon, Yiannis Koutedakis, Roger Wolman, Alan M. Nevill, Nick Allen.