Vitamin D is often referred to as the sunshine vitamin, and is receiving lots of media coverage at the moment due to possible positive links with a certain virus (still to be proven). But how much do you really know about Vitamin D and the many benefits of this super nutrient?
What is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is important because it helps the body to regulate the amount of phosphate and calcium it contains. These two nutrients are vital for the health of muscles, bones and teeth. It can also help the body to maintain a healthy immune system, which we all know is even more critical these days.
A deficiency in Vitamin D can lead to a number of conditions, such as osteoporosis, osteomalacia (soft bones) or rickets in children.
Where can Vitamin D be found?
Your body creates Vitamin D from exposure to sunlight, so during the more sunny months of March to September, you should be already getting the required amount of Vitamin D from your daily lifestyle.
However, during the darker months, and if you are not getting outside as much as possible, your levels of Vitamin D probably need boosting.
Like many vitamins and minerals, Vitamin D can be found naturally occurring in a number of foods. This includes red meat, liver, egg yolks and oily fish, plus some foods which have been specifically fortified. So if your diet does not include these foods, you may also need to supplement your Vitamin D intake.
What are the benefits of taking Vitamin D?
As mentioned, Vitamin D plays an important part in the healthy development of bones, muscles and teeth, but it also has other benefits.
It is believed that a ‘normal’ level of Vitamin D can help to ward off Type 2 diabetes – because it helps the body to be less sensitive to insulin.
For people already living with diabetes, scientists also think that having a certain volume of Vitamin D can help to keep blood glucose levels under control.
It can help to prevent against chronic gum disease and the resulting tooth loss.
Vitamin D can also help with maintaining a healthy weight. This is because it helps the body to recognise when it is full, and therefore stop over-eating.
Large scale studies are planned to investigate links between low Vitamin D levels and dementia, after recent studies have shown that Vitamin D is found in brain tissue.
There are recommended levels of Vitamin D to be ingested on a daily basis. It is important to remember that this total includes supplements taken as well as amounts from food or sunlight. For example, if you are outside a lot during the summer months, taking a supplement as well would be too much.
It is recommended that adults need 10 micrograms of vitamin D a day. This includes people at risk of vitamin D deficiency, and pregnant and breastfeeding women. 10 micrograms can also be expressed as 400 IU (International Units)
You can buy Vitamin D online from a range of retailers and pharmacies. You need to be careful to ensure that where you are buying from, and what you are buying are genuine products and follow the recommended daily intake.
Please consult with a medical professional before you start taking any supplements, especially if you have any existing conditions.
*This is a sponsored post. Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash.