How to survive winter without getting "D-ficient”
As our weather transitions into winter and with darkness setting in before we leave the office, it can be tricky to get the vitamin D our body needs from the sun alone! At this time of year, however, it’s maybe even more essential that we do...
Vitamin D deficiency is one of the most prevalent nutritional deficiencies worldwide, affecting people of all ages! The National Diet and Nutrition Survey found that across each year, nearly a quarter of the adult UK population are deficient in vitamin D, with this rising to 40% over January to March when sunlight is especially reduced.
But why do we need vitamin D?!
- Sufficient levels of vitamin D are needed to enable the absorption of calcium and phosphate. These are important minerals that support healthy bones, teeth, muscle function, nervous system and skin health.
- Vitamin D actually helps to manage atopic skin reactions, asthma and hayfever
- It's crucial for healthy immune system cells and helps to prevent coughs, colds and flu. This explains why so many people get sick in winter- it could be due to Vitamin D deficiency!
- Deficiency has been linked to depression, fatigue, female hormone imbalance and fibromyalgia
If I can’t get the vitamin D I need from the sun, how can I get it?
It’s particularly tricky to get all your vitamin D from food sources alone as there are actually very few food sources that contain vitamin D.
The best sources include:
- Oily fish such as salmon (140g portion contains 10.2 mcg), mackerel (140g portion contains 11.9 mcg)
- Eggs - 2 scrambled eggs contain 3.4 mcg of vitamin D!
- Foods fortified with vitamin D - such as yoghurt and milk
It’s pretty tricky to get all the vitamin D you need from diet alone, so when winter approaches you should consider taking a vitamin D supplement.
Adults are recommended to take between 25-100mcg per day and opt for vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) and this is a much more usable form for the body than vitamin D2.
Tip! Take your vitamin D supplement with a meal containing healthy fats such as olive oil, avocado, coconut oil, or oily fish! Vitamin D is a fat-soluble molecule, so these fats in your meal will enable absorption.
Check your levels!
It can be tricky knowing your levels of vitamin D as there are rarely any symptoms when they start to drop.
Using a VITL Vitamin Blood test, you can get live results of your vitamin D levels (plus iron, zinc, active B12, folate, and a full cholesterol breakdown).
This way you can find out your levels for sure and prepare yourself for the winter.