Unless you have been on a jet-set holiday the chances are that, by this time of year you are missing the sun. Sunshine always makes us feel better, but it also plays a vital role in our health. Vitamin D is often known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’ as it is produced by our skin through exposure to sunlight. In the summer our bodies are able to manufacture sufficient amounts of Vitamin D by simply exposing bare skin to the sun for as little as twenty minutes a day. However, in winter, your body may become deficient, which can have short and long term consequences for our health.
Vitamin D is one of the few supplements that health professionals are widely advising people to take on a routine basis, especially children and the elderly. As you age, your body gets slower to produce Vitamin D.
Vitamin D is also important for those exercising regularly and it has been proven that Vitamin D is needed for bone strength as it has a key role in calcium absorption. If you have experienced fractures you will almost certainly benefit from Vitamin D supplements. Vitamin D is also a requirement for restoring and maintaining your muscles and bones, so anyone regularly cycling could benefit from taking it as a supplement. In addition to this it has been suggested that Vitamin D plays a role in reducing the risk of many chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancers, autoimmune and infectious diseases.
There are dietary sources of Vitamin D, but it is impossible to get enough from your diet alone without natural sunlight. In winter supplements are the only way to maintain your Vitamin D status. So, until spring comes around again it might be a good idea to head to your local pharmacy and get your sunshine in a jar. The recommended about of Vitamin D per day for supplementation is 10mcg per day.