Summer is here, on and off, so I thought it was time for a few facts about Vitamin D and the sunshine!
You've probably heard about Vitamin D and it being something to do with the sun but possibly not sure what the connection is and what it means.
Vitamin D has many functions in the body such as helping form strong bones and teeth (a lack of vitamin D can lead to bone deformities in children known as rickets.) It also appears to protect against cancer and MS and is needed for calcium and phosphorus absorption.
The body creates Vitamin D from direct sunlight on the skin when outdoors, so between April to October in the UK most people should be able to get all their Vitamin D from sunlight. It is not known exactly how long you need to spend in direct sunlight to get enough Vitamin D as it varies depending on skin colour and how much skin you have exposed. However, don't forget, the longer you spend in direct sunlight, the higher your risk of developing skin cancer.
Between October and March in the UK we don't get enough Vitamin D from sunlight so have to get it form other sources.
During this time we get our Vitamin D from pastured whole eggs, liver, seafood, fortified foods and cod liver oil. Another source is supplements and this is recommended for some people including young infants and children and minority ethnic groups with dark skin.
However taking too many of these supplements over time can have a counterintuitive effect. For most people 10mcg is enough, but if too much is taken, calcium can start to build up in the body (hypercalcaemia) which can weaken bones and damage the kidneys and heart. Remember, always consult your doctor before taking supplements as it may not be suitable for some people.
Vitamin D has even been shown to help regulate moods and those with a Vitamin D deficiency as twice as likely to suffer depression. In one study, scientists found that people with depression who took these supplements noticed an improvement in their symptoms.
I hope you've found this interesting, learned something new and don't forget to come back again soon for more informative blog posts.
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