We’ve all been hearing a lot about Vitamin D lately, but what makes the sunshine vitamin so special at this time of year? Mostly known for its role in supporting immune health, Vitamin D also contributes to the maintenance of normal bones, teeth, muscle function and blood clotting.
Keep reading to find out why you should be taking Vitamin D this winter.
What is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is an essential macronutrient. Our bodies create their own supply of Vitamin D from direct sunlight on the skin — that’s why it’s often called the ‘sunshine vitamin’. But between October and March, we don’t get enough Vitamin D from sunlight. As the United Kingdom is pretty far north from the equator, the duration and quality of the sunlight during winter isn’t enough to keep our Vitamin D levels topped up.
Some people are more at risk from Vitamin D deficiency than others, such as people who spend most of their time indoors, or those who have naturally darker skin — if you’re unsure whether this applies to you, check with your doctor.
Either way, most people in the UK will need to take a Vitamin D supplement during winter to ensure they’re getting enough of this immunity-boosting nutrient.
Vitamin D is essential for several functions in the body, such as maintaining healthy bones and teeth. It also plays an important role in supporting your immune system.
What is Vitamin D deficiency?
Vitamin D deficiency is common, but usually not severe. When serious, deficiency can cause rickets — a rare bone disease that is mostly absent from developed countries.
Low levels of Vitamin D can affect your health in the long-term, so speak to your doctor if you’re concerned about your Vitamin D intake.
Can I increase my Vitamin D intake through my diet?
There are some foods that are good sources of Vitamin D, such as oily fish (including cod liver oil), red meat and egg yolks, as well as foods that are fortified with Vitamin D, such as breakfast cereals. But for most people, it’s easier to get your Vitamin D requirement from dietary supplements during the winter.