This vital nutrient is one many people don’t really think of, yet populations around the world are suffering from vitamin D deficiency. It’s crucially important to assist in the maintenance of a healthy heart muscle, bone mineralisation, skin conditions, mood/cognitive function, immune function, inflammatory response, enhance calcium absorption and more.
Symptoms of deficiency include:
- Frequent colds and flu’s, respiratory tract infections
- Fatigue, tiredness
- Mood disorders
- Inadequate bone growth
- Muscle weakness and aches
- Frequent bone break and fractures
Vitamin D is produced in the skin when exposed to UVB light. On average, exposing a large area of your body (stomach/back) in the sun (without sunscreen) for 15 minutes a few times a week will keep your vitamin D levels in check. If that is not possible exposing your arms, face and even legs in the sun for 5-10 minutes most days will suffice.
We are bought up in a world where we are told to lather on sunscreen when outside, however sunscreen blocks your body from absorbing vitamin D. I am not encouraging you to go out all day and redden or burn your skin, just 15 minutes most days to obtain optimal vitamin D levels.
If this is just not possible for you (which in the winter months can be challenging) then a supplement could come in handy. There are some foods which contain vitamin D such as egg yolks, fatty fish like salmon, tuna, sardines, cod liver, some dairy foods, however, if you are deficient in vitamin D food sources will most likely not be enough to bring up your levels.
Vitamin D comes in two forms D2 and D3. D2 is a vegetable derived form and D3 is an animal derived form. I would recommend taking a D3 supplement. The RDI is 400iu*, however the body uses much more of this vitamin each day for general functioning. To ensure optimal blood levels in most people I would recommend an intake of 2000iu*+ for general health and wellbeing.
*"IU" stands for International Units, which is an international standard of measurement for vitamins A, D and E.