The Benefits of Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a well renowned substance that can optimise your health in numerous ways. Vitamin D helps to regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate within your body. These nutrients are needed to keep bones, muscles and your teeth healthy. A deficiency of vitamin D can result in bone deformities such as rickets in children and bone pain caused by a condition named osteomalacia in grown adults.
Many doctors are also recommending that consideration is given to taking vitamin D to help fight off the Coronavirus. The NHS recommends that taking 10 micrograms of vitamin D on a daily basis can help keep your bones and muscles healthy. Vitamin D is naturally acquired by direct sunlight, but with many people isolating it, the amount of sunlight people are exposed to may be lower than usual. If you are indoors all day you are probably not getting enough sunlight, so it is probably advisable to take some form of Vitamin D supplement. There have been some recent news reports about vitamin D reducing the risk of coronavirus. This is unfortunately not substantiated by sufficient evidence and this claim cannot be supported by the appropriate evidence.
What are good sources of Vitamin D?
From early spring to the end of September, most people in the UK should be able to get all the vitamin D they need from direct sunlight. The body creates vitamin D from sunlight on the skin when you are outdoors. However, between October and early spring, most people will not get enough vitamin D from direct sunlight.
The human body creates vitamin D from direct sunlight on the skin when outside. Vitamin D can also be created by consuming a small number of specific foods. Foods like oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines and herring provide vitamin D, as do red meat and eggs.
Cow’s milk is not a good source of vitamin D as it is not fortified like it is in many other countries around the world.
Who should take Vitamin D supplements?
Some portions of the population are at a much greater risk of not getting enough vitamin D and therefore having a vitamin D deficiency. The Department of Health suggests that the people in these categories take vitamin D supplements to ensure they get enough vitamin D. These groups consist of:
- All babies from birth in their first year of life, this includes breastfed babies and formula-fed babes who have less than 500ml a day of baby formula
- All children from 1-14 years of age
- People who are rarely exposed to the sun. For example, those who are frail or housebound
- Elderly people who are in an institution such as a care home
- People who normally wear clothes that cover all of their skin
A daily supplement containing 10 micrograms (μg) is recommended by the NHS.
For the remainder of the population aged 5 years old and above should get enough vitamin D from sunlight during the summer.
There are many supplements available that contain vitamin D and it is worth considering trying some if you feel you are not getting enough sunlight and feel drained of energy at times.
Speak to your doctor or pharmacist if you are unsure about taking vitamin D.
Magnesium has illustrated promise in treating some conditions associated with pain. Low magnesium levels are often associated with a low pain threshold. Iron supplementation has also shown some benefits. Therefore, a magnesium supplement in conjunction with vitamin D could also be considered if you are lacking energy or feel run down without explanation.