What you need to know about Vitamin D
Vitamin D, otherwise known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’, is a key vitamin for your body to function regularly and helps to maintain strong bones and a healthy immune system.
Approximately 90% of Vitamin D is made naturally by your body, and this comes from your skin absorbing sunlight. However, it can be challenging to ensure that your skin is exposed to enough VitD, (especially if you live in the UK), so it is recommended that you take a daily Vitamin D supplement to boost the levels of it in your body.
What does it do?
Vitamin D can be found in brain tissue and studies have shown that low levels of it could increase the risk of getting dementia.
Low vitamin D levels can contribute to weak muscles. Taking supplements can improve your muscle performance and decrease muscle related injuries.
Our bodies need vitamin D in order to extract calcium properly from our food, therefore a Vitamin D deficiency means our bodies aren’t able to absorb enough calcium. This can lead to brittle bones and teeth. Vitamin D also helps to prevent osteoporosis.
Vitamin D helps facilitate a healthy function of your immune system, and can help lower your risk of developing heart disease, some types of cancer and diabetes.
How do I know if I have a Vitamin D deficiency?
If you are lacking in Vitamin D, you may experience these symptoms:
- Bone and joint aches
- Gum disease
- Low energy levels
- Experiencing depression and/or anxiety
It can also stunt growth in children and make you more likely to get infections.
Which foods contain Vitamin D?
You can also increase your Vitamin D intake by eating more foods that contain it. Foods that contain Vitamin D are:
- Fish (sardines, salmon, tuna)
- Red meat
- Milk (dairy and plant based)
- Fortified cereals
Is there such a thing as too much Vitamin D?
In short, yes there is. Too much Vitamin D can cause a buildup of calcium in your body. This can weaken your bones and cause damage to both your heart and kidneys. You can not overdose on Vitamin D through exposure to sunlight, only by taking too many supplements.
Sources: Naturismo, Holland & Barrett, NHS.