With the much hoped Indian summer looking unlikely as the end of September fast approaches, it would seem winter is on the way.
As well as swapping maxi dresses for jeans and flip-flops for Uggs, this is also the time to start thinking about getting enough Vitamin D to keep healthy as the nights draw in and temperatures dip.
Vitamin D is really important for healthy bones and is also needed to keep teeth and muscles strong, so it is a pretty key nutrient.
In the UK, the best time to absorb Vitamin D from the sun is between late March and the end of September, so you still have a window of opportunity. Come October however, sunlight in the UK simply doesn’t have enough UVB radiation for our bodies to create Vitamin D naturally.
You might not think this isn’t a massive problem, but it can be. A lack of vitamin D isn’t great because it can lead to bones becoming soft and weak which in turn can lead to deformity. In children, a lack of Vitamin D can lead to rickets and in adults osteomalacia, which causes bone tenderness and pain, is a possible outcome.
People most at risk of a Vitamin D deficiency include:
- Women, especially teenagers and young women
- Babies and the under 5s
- Over 65s
- People with little exposure to the sun
- People with darker skin, such as African, African-Caribbean and South Asian origin, as these groups aren’t able to make as much of the vitamin as people with paler skin
So, with this in mind, how much Vitamin D do we actually need?
Public Health England advises that babies up to the age of one need 8.5 – 10mcg of Vitamin D a day and children from one, and adults, need 10mcg of Vitamin D a day.
With the sun not helping us over the winter it is time to look at how we can source Vitamin D, and this is from the food we eat and the supplements we take.
Great sources of Vitamin D are found in:
- Oily fish, with herring, fresh tuna, herring, salmon and sardines are all being good Vitamin D friendly options
- Red meat, especially liver
- Egg yolks
- Fortified foods including fat spreads and breakfast cereals
It is interesting to note that cows’ milk in the UK isn’t considered to be a good source of Vitamin D because it isn’t fortified, but some non-dairy milk alternatives are helpful sources.
If you still think you will be deficient in Vitamin D, you can buy supplements or vitamin drops that include Vitamin D at most chemists and supermarkets. While you can’t overdose on Vitamin D from the sun (but of course your skin can burn if you don’t use sun protection), it is possible to take too much when using supplements. As with all supplements, always follow the instructions and note that more than 100 micrograms a day could be harmful, so if you have any questions ask your GP or pharmacist.
So, make the most of the last of the September sun, then stock up on Vitamin D friendly foods and supplements and keep healthy all winter long.
Team Pure Beauty