What is vitamin D and why is it so important to our health?

Vitamin D is such an important and essential nutrient as it helps to regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in our bodies. These are not only necessary in building and maintaining strong bones but also in having healthy muscle function, fighting depression and also helping to protect our bodies against disease by boosting our immune system. I think we can all agree that vitamin D is something special.

Vitamin D isn’t technically a vitamin at all as vitamins are nutrients that our bodies need and must be obtained by consuming them. Whereas vitamin D isn’t just something we need to eat to acquire, it is something that our bodies are able to synthesise when our skin is exposed to sunlight. Earning itself the nickname the ‘Sunshine Vitamin’.

Despite having this inbuilt magical ability to procure vitamin D from sunshine, we do not however have the power to control the weather. Unfortunately, due to a low exposure to sunshine at certain times of the year our precious stores break down quickly and diminish.

A short-term lack of vitamin D can lead to a variety of health complaints such as pain, fatigue, infection, sickness and even hair loss. Long term vitamin D deficiency can result in serious problems of diabetes, fibromyalgia, obesity and osteoporosis.

It is therefore our responsibility to make sure we are doing everything we can to look after ourselves and maintain good levels of vitamin D throughout the year.

 

Pretty Local top tips to tip top vitamin D top up!

 

Get outside and soak up that sun

Not only will you benefit from the fresh air and exercise but as sunshine is a natural and wonderful source of vitamin D you should get up and go outside. A walk in the sunshine, time spent gardening or even just sitting outside reading a book will boost your vitamin D intake. Please be careful though, no one wants to suffer from sun burn or sun stroke so be very sensible about your time in the sun and do not expose yourself for longer than necessary. Keep in mind that every little helps.

Fuel up

What could be an easier way to improve your vitamin D levels than eating delicious food. Here is a list of some of the excellent sources of food and drink to give yourself a brilliant boost:

Eggs

Pork

Sardines

Mackerel

Tuna

Salmon

Sole

Flounder

Mushrooms

Orange juice

Fortified Milk/ Cereal

Supplements

You shouldn’t rely solely on the use of supplements to get the vital vitamins and minerals that you need but using them in additional to natural sources is a very effective way to increase your vitamin D intake. There are many varieties of multivitamins out there so check labels and ask a health care professional if you are unsure and need any questions answered.

Start today and use these helpful tips to reap the health benefits of the sunshine vitamin!