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Vitamin D: The Sunshine Supplement
The sunshine vitamin
WHAT IS VITAMIN D?
Vitamin D, commonly known as the Sunshine Vitamin, regulates your absorption of calcium and phosphorus (both of which build and strengthen your bones and teeth) and facilitate the function of a normal immune system. Getting a sufficient amount of Vitamin D is important for the normal growth and development of bones and teeth, as well as improved resistance against certain diseases.
VITAMIN D FROM NATURAL SOURCES

From about late March/early April to the end of September, the majority of people should be able to make all the Vitamin D they need from sunlight on their skin. However, it is widely recognised that many people who work indoors or who choose not to expose themselves to direct sunlight may not be able to maintain Vitamin D levels without a dietary supplement.

The Department of Health and Social Care recommends that you take a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of Vitamin D throughout the year if you:

  • are not often outdoors – for example, if you're frail or housebound
  • are in an institution like a care home
  • usually wear clothes that cover up most of your skin when outdoors

If you have dark skin – for example you have an African, African-Caribbean or South Asian heritage – you may also not make enough Vitamin D from sunlight alone.

The best source is sunlight on your skin, but with darker days and lockdowns we have not been getting enough; deficiency is common and It’s widely accepted that to take a Vitamin D supplement is a good thing, but if you are in doubt, you can test levels, even at home.

Vitamin D is also found in a small number of foods.
Sources include:

  • Oily fish – such as salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel
  • Red meat
  • Liver (not as popular as it used to be)
  • Egg yolks
  • Fortified foods – such as some fat spreads and breakfast cereals

As this list shows, if you are following a plant-based diet, you are unlikely to be gaining enough Vitamin D from food sources.

How Much Vitamin D Do I Take?

The general consensus is that adults should take 10 micrograms of Vitamin D throughout the year. A microgram is 1,000 times smaller than a milligram (mg). The word microgram is sometimes written with the Greek symbol μ followed by the letter g (μg).

Sometimes the amount of Vitamin D is expressed as International Units (IU). 1 microgram of vitamin D is equal to 40 IU. So, 10 micrograms of Vitamin D is equal to 400 IU.

The sunshine vitamin
The Wider Benefits of the Sunshine Supplement

Improving your intake of Vitamin D can help your body fight infection and disease. The sunshine vitamin not only helps to protect you physically, but can support your mental wellbeing as it can play a role in regulating mood and guarding against depression. After all, it isn’t called the Sunshine Vitamin for nothing, as it creates the same feelings that going out on a lovely summer day for a stroll would.

Research has found that people with depression who received Vitamin D supplements noticed an improvement in their symptoms, and that Vitamin D deficiency was more common in those who were experiencing anxiety and depression. Signs of deficiency include tiredness, aches and pains, severe bone or muscle pain or weakness.

Helping You to Make Better Choices
We are committed to helping you make better choices that have a positive impact on your wellbeing and lifestyle. In the Blossom & Root Wellbeing & Lifestyle Store, we offer a selection of Vitamin D products in forms that will suit your lifestyle and daily routine, from drops, to vitamin D infused teas, capsule form and super convenient oral sprays. Whichever form you take, we believe that taking a Vitamin D supplement all year round will have a positive benefit to your wellbeing and general health.
This article was produced using information sourced from GQ Magazine and the Food Standards Agency