Get Some Vitamin D!
Known as the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D is produced by our bodies in response to the skin being exposed to the sunlight. It is a fat soluble vitamin which als occurs naturally in a few foods such as fish and egg yolks.
We need this sunshine vitamin as it is essential for strong and healthy bones, helping our bodies to utilise the calcium in our diets. This may make sense when you look at how a vitamin D deficiency has historically been linked with rickets, a disease which is where the bone tissue doesn’t mineralise and the bones become soft and deformed. However, vitamin D does more than help our bodies to keep our bones super strong!
Deficiencies in vitamin D have been associated with cognitive impairment in older adults and this bad boy vitamin could also play an important role in the prevention and treatment of conditions such as Type 1 and 2 diabetes, hypertension and multiple sclerosis!
So, if you avoid all sun (or live in Scotland like me where your exposure to sun is limited) or you follow a strict vegan diet (most natural sources of vitamin D are animal based) you may wish to consider your levels of vitamin D.
The absorption of vitamin D is also important as certain individuals may struggle to absorb vitamin D in their digestive tract, especially if they suffer from a digestive illness such as IBS or Chron’s disease. For elderly adults you may need to consider a potential vitamin deficiency as our kidneys cannot convert vitamin D to its natural form as we age and this increases the risk of a deficiency.
Finally for those with darker skin, the pigment melanin is reduced compared to my pale and freckly English skin! This reduces the skins ability to make vitamin D in response to exposure to the sun, that means that the risk of a vitamin D deficiency is higher. As too are obese individuals as vitamin D is extracted from the blood by fat cells which alter its release into circulation so this may mean a reduced blood level of vitamin D.
The sunshine vitamin, are you getting it?