29th July 2016 | Blog
Vitamin D – what’s all the fuss about?
Vitamin D has been making headlines in the news recently with there being rising concerns that we’re not getting enough of it, putting thousands of people at risk. According to Public Health England, as many as one in five adults and one in six children have low vitamin D levels in the UK – representing 10 million people in England alone. As a vitamin enriched drink company we thought it only fair that we investigate into Vitamin D – why it’s important, how much we need and where to find it.
Why is Vitamin D so important?
Vitamin D plays an important role in a variety of functions in your body. A key role of vitamin D is to regulate blood levels of calcium, helping to build healthy bones, teeth and muscles. Vitamin D is also required for maintenance of muscle functioning and function of the immune system. It also acts as a hormone to regulate things like blood pressure and kidney function. So all in all, it’s a pretty clever (and super necessary) little vitamin.
Vitamin D deficiency
Vitamin D is critical to aid in the absorption of calcium. A lack of vitamin D can lead to soft bones syndromes such as brittle bones and rickets in children as well as possible muscle / joint weakness if levels are not maintained. The recommended amount of vitamin D is equivalent to an average daily intake of 10 micrograms. It’s important to get this required amount all year long however approximately 60–70% of the UK adult population have insufficient levels of vitamin D in winter/spring and 16% are considered deficient. During these months we rely solely on our diet and supplements to provide us with our required dosage.
How to get it
Vitamin D can be found in foods such as oily fish, eggs and fortified cereals. Dairy products are also often fortified with vitamin D to aid the absorption of the calcium already present. However, the main natural source of vitamin D is sunlight and getting your daily dose can be as easy as stepping outside for 15-20 minutes a day. Depending on skin pigmentation, age, clothing, SPF levels and time of the day, every individual differs in terms of how long they need to be exposed to the sun. Easy ways to tackle this is taking the long route home instead of the shortcut, or even taking a short walk on your lunch break instead of sitting at your desk all day. For those that don’t have the option of consuming dairy or fish, or even in getting outside sufficiently all year round it is now advised to take vitamin D supplements, especially in the autumn and winter when sunlight is at its weakest in the UK ( as if you needed another reason to hate on UK weather !).
So there we have it, the small but mighty vitamin D is more important than we may have initially thought. Get some sun on your skin, eat the right foods or take a supplement to cover your daily dose and fight back against these gloomy UK winters!