Vitamin D: Everything you need to know

For the last couple of years now, around the time Autumn arrives we have noticed a difference in our now five year old. He is tired, often with less energy and most certainly he begins to struggle with his schedule. Things become too much for him. Prior to Autumn this is not the case and so after a visit to the doctors two Autumns ago we discovered that these signs are the beginning of a deficiency occurring. I have shared the above picture with you which shows some redness under his eyes, this is one of the first signs we see. He isn’t unwell however since being born premature he does have a low immune system which at some times in the year needs a little boost.

I wanted to share a recent government report with you which has offered some new guidelines about the amount of vitamin D we should consume on a daily basis. As a general rule, everyone — adults and children over the age of one alike — should consume 10 micrograms of vitamin D every day. But why? Here, vitamin D supplement retailer, Pharma Nord, explains what the vitamin does and why it’s so important.

What does vitamin D do?

Vitamin D is important as it helps the body absorb calcium and phosphate from our diet. Because calcium and phosphate are essential for maintaining healthy bones, teeth and muscles, it’s vital that we keep vitamin D at the optimum level.

Only 10% of our daily intake of vitamin D comes from our diet and the other 90% must come from sunlight. Because we predominantly rely on sunlight for vitamin D, it’s often difficult to get the amount that we require during autumn and winter. This is because sunlight doesn’t contain enough UVB radiation between October and early March in the UK. Instead, many people take supplements to try and up their vitamin intake and prevent a deficiency occurring.

What happens if you don’t get enough vitamin D?

If your levels of vitamin D drop too low, you will have a deficiency. Vitamin D is critical to the health of bones and teeth: without vitamin D, calcium cannot be effectively absorbed by your body. A deficiency in vitamin D can result in bone and muscle pain, poor bone mineralisation and a greater risk of osteoporosis and fractures as we age.

Vitamin D can stimulate the body and it’s production of anti-viral and anti-bacterial proteins, making it an effective nutrient to boost immunity and protect against colds and flu. People with low levels of vitamin D are 40% more likely to report respiratory infections. Deficiency of vitamin D is also associated with increased risk of auto-immune disorders such as multiple sclerosis.

Who does vitamin D deficiencies effect?

Some people are more at risk of vitamin D deficiencies than others. Those at greater risk include babies from birth to one year old, children aged between one and four and the elderly.

Vitamin D synthesis is also inhibited by lack of sunshine or covering up with clothes. Pregnant and breast-feeding mothers and people with darker skin pigmentation may also have inadequate UV exposure.

Will supplements help?

Public Health England has recommended that everyone considers taking vitamin D supplements in autumn and winter to ensure they get enough of this essential vitamin.

I do hope that by sharing this information it has helped you. Whilst we dream of long summer days our little family will certainly be taking our multi vitamins in a bid to rid any unwanted illness or deficiencies. And this is my boy just a few days after a little boost…

life as our little family

KA x

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