Vitamin D Supplements
What is it Vitamin D?
Do you need Vitamin D Supplements? Vitamin D, the ‘sunshine vitamin’ is integral in calcium and phosphorus metabolism, to maintain healthy bones, reduce fracture risk, teeth, and muscles. It has been shown to improve muscle strength and performance even without exercise, so it’s important for those less mobile. It facilitates the absorption of calcium and phosphorus from food in the intestines, through the gut wall and into the bloodstream. If your levels are too low, the absorption of calcium from the gut can be reduced, by up to 90%.
Studies suggest that deficiency is associated with cardio vascular health issues. There also seems to be consistent evidence showing there is a relationship between vitamin D and mental health.
How do we get it Vitamin D?
It is synthesised through exposure to sunlight from April to September from UVB rays, and we also obtain a little from food (oily fish, eggs, meat, butter, cereal).
A large proportion of the population don’t meet their requirements and globally is the most common deficiency. People with darker skin have increased amounts of melanin in their skin which absorbs more UVB. They therefore need longer hours of sun exposure than people with pale skin, to produce adequate levels.
With a high percentage of the nation now working from home and getting less sunlight exposure than ever, supplementation is recommended.
- Babies (breastfed) from birth to 1 year of age 8.5-10ug per day
- Babies (formula-fed) no supplement until having less than 500ml/1pt infant formula a day, as it’s fortified with vitamin D
- Children aged 1-4 years 10ug
Children aged 5 years upwards and adults (including breastfeeding and pregnant) 10ug October to March. However, if not often outdoors (housebound, care homes etc) or have dark skin, it is recommended to supplement all year round.
NB: There have been some reports about vitamin D reducing the risk of coronavirus (COVID-19). But there is currently not enough evidence to support taking a supplement to prevent or treat coronavirus.
If you have specific health concerns or symptoms concerning potential deficiency, you can see your GP and request a blood test or obtain one via an online laboratory. They can then advise on a dose which may be higher that the NHS general recommendation to correct the deficiency.
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