We’ve all become more aware of the importance of Vitamin D in recent years, it’s become a priority for the NHS to promote Vitamin D supplements in pregnancy and for breastfed babies over 6 months. Recent research shows that nearly half of people (47%) believe that natural sources can provide all the vitamin D they need, however experts say that’s almost impossible for many people living in the UK.
With everyone living a more indoor lifestyle, urban offices and high rise buildings plus more use of sunscreens mean that rickets and other health conditions are on the rise due to vitamin D deficiency.
Dr Sarah Jarvis has over 30 years experience as an NHS GP and here she gives us the lowdown with her A to Z of vitamin D. I’ve found it so useful, and am now giving vitamin D drops to my children over the winter at least, and taking them myself. Once you’re past 35 your bone mass decreases every day! Wah! We’ve been trying out the children’s vitamin D daily drops from Fultium and I find it’s easy to administer, and the oil is tasteless. It makes for an easy life, and we all take our ‘medicine’ in the morning or evening. Fultium daily D3 is free from artificial preservatives and sweeteners. The gelatin is Halal and Kosher certified and the drops are suitable for vegetarians.
A = Absorption
Vitamin D promotes calcium absorption in the body to enable normal bone production, strength and repair
B = Bone Health
Research has shown that a persistently low level of vitamin D predisposes some people to bone fractures
C = Colour of Your Skin
The colour of your skin makes a difference on how easily you absorb vitamin D from sunlight. Paler people (lucky me) make vitamin D more quickly than people with dark skins (but often avoid the sun due to fear of burning – also me).
D = Dose
Everyone over 1 should get 10mcg vitamin D per day. We should be considering getting a supplement, particular during the winter months. People who are housebound, in care homes, pregnant and breastfeeding women are being advised to take a 10mcg vitamin D supplement all year round.
E = Exposure to Sunlight
Sunlight is the most natural way to get vitamin D into the body by exposing yourself to the UVB rays. However, you would need to have your face and upper extremities exposed between 11am-3pm from April to September in order to make enough vitamin D in the body. You don’t need to tan or burn to get vitamin D. You only need to expose your skin to the sun for half the time it takes you to burn.
F = Food
You can get vitamin D from certain foods including oily fish, red meat, egg yolks, fortified drinks, cereals and milk. You would need to eat one of the following servings every day to get enough vitamin D from diet alone.
- 1 portion of oily fish (maximum of 2 per week)
- 6 boiled eggs
- 10+ tins of tuna
- 7+ bowls of fortified cereal
- 10 rump steaks
- 10+lambs liver
- 13+ lumps of reduced fat spread
Not that appetising, huh?
G = GP Diagnosis
You can be deficient in vitamin D with no symptoms, but common symptoms are generalised muscle aches, low mood and fatigue. Diagnosis can be made through a blood test at your GP surgery.
H = High Rise Buildings
Large cities which are densely populated with high rise buildings can affect vitamin D absorption because of limited exposure on bare skin.
I = Immunity
There is a growing amount of evidence to suggest that vitamin D plays a key role in the immune system.
K = Knowledge
Just over a third of people are aware of vitamin D advice
L = Lack of outdoor space
A lack of outdoor space and children spending more time indoors can also be a contributing factor to the increase of vitamin D deficiency in this country.
M = Medical Conditions Related to Vitamin D Deficiency
Depression, breast and colorectal cancer have all been linked to low levels of vitamin D. Research suggests a link between vitamin D levels and dementia.
N = Normal levels of Vitamin D
Normal levels of vitamin D are a serum (OH) D level above 50 nmol/L.
O = Office Workers
Offices in urban areas have very little natural sunlight exposure, and may contribute to vitamin D deficiencies.
P = Pollution
Polluted air soaks up UVB or reflects it back into space. If you live in an area with high pollution, your skin makes less vitamin D. A vote for living in the country!
Q = Quality
Get the highest quality vitamin D supplements. If you are concerned, just ask your pharmacist, and make sure they are pharmaceutical grade supplements.
R = Rickets caused by a lack of vitamin D
Rickets used to be more common, with children affected by the bony tissue and bones being soft and deformed. It mostly disappeared in the early 20th century with the introduction of fortified cereal and margarine, but in recent years cases of rickets are on the rise.
S = Sunscreen
Sunscreen applied correctly blocks a lot of vitamin D production.
T = Tablet vs Oil Vitamin D Supplements
Fultium Daily D3 is one of the few vitamin D tablet supplements specially formulated in a high quality oil, as opposed to the dry chalky tablets. This makes it easily and effectively absorbed by the body.
U = UVB
It’s the ultraviolet B rays which are responsible for the synthesis of vitamin D in the body.
V = Vitamin D Supplements
You can buy supplements online or in a pharmacy store. Speak to your pharmacist for advice on which is right for you.
W = Weakened immune system
Research suggests that vitamin D deficiency weakens the immune system, leading to other diseases and infections.
X = X-Ray
Wrist X-rays are sometimes needed to investigate suspected rickets in children with low level vitamin D.
Y = You
Only you can control your vitamin D levels, and you know if you are at risk of deficiency. Unless you spend a lot of time in the sun, consider a supplement.
Z = Zzzzzzzz
A lack of vitamin D is associated with sleep problems, particularly with daytime sleepiness.
All the research has been conducted by Fultium Daily D3. Even in summer, they recommend taking a high quality, oil based vitamin D product such as Fultium Daily D3, to maintain healthy bones, teeth and muscles.
Do you take vitamin D supplements? Do you think you may be vitamin D deficient? Let me know in the comments below.
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Disclosure: I received a sample of the Fultium Daily D3 drops for review purposes. All opinions are my own.