One of the main vitamins that many people prioritise is Vitamin D. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is created by the body due to sun exposure and certain foods. It’s estimated that 1 billion people across the globe are deficient in Vitamin D, with 1 in 6 UK adults thought to be Vitamin D deficient, meaning they’re lacking sufficient levels. Typically referred to as ‘the sunshine vitamin’, Vitamin D is essential for bone health, calcium and fatigue.

Why is vitamin D important?

Vitamin D helps to control the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body. Key elements needed to keep bones, muscles and teeth healthy. If a person is lacking in vitamin D, this can lead to bone deformities, bone and muscle pain or a lack of energy. This specific vitamin comes with a range of benefits and is a crucial nutrient for a number of reasons.

Benefits of vitamin D

  • Helps to fight diseases such as heart disease, sclerosis and fly-like illnesses.
  • Supports the immune system
  • Regulates mood
  • Decrease in the chance of depression
  • Could support weight loss
  • Increases energy levels and lowers fatigue

How much vitamin D do you need?

Getting the recommended amount of vitamin D is harder than it looks. With such limited sunlight through the winter months and life priorities taking up most of our time, it’s no surprise that the majority of people are deficient in some way or another.

The Recommended Dietary Allowances for vitamin D are as follows.

  • infants (0–12 months): 10 mcg (400 IU)
  • children and teens: 15 mcg (600 IU)
  • adults ages 18–70: 15 mcg (600 IU)
  • adults over age 70: 20 mcg (800 IU)
  • pregnant or breastfeeding women: 15 mcg (600 IU)

What is vitamin D deficiency?

Vitamin D deficiency is simply when one is deficient in the vitamin. Although not always serious, this can lead to future health issues. A healthcare professional can diagnose a vitamin D deficiency by performing a simple blood test but there are also a number of symptoms which can indicate this.

  • Aching bones
  • Tiredness
  • Weakness in muscles or bones
  • Stress fractures

There are a number of ways you can tackle vitamin D deficiency, and most of the time, this just means altering your lifestyle or diet. As vitamin D is directly related to sunlight, ensuring you’re spending plenty of time outdoors is key. You may also want to introduce these foods into your diet: salmon, tuna, cod liver oil, egg yolk, shrimp, milk and yoghurt.

For an extra boost, taking a daily supplement can ensure you’re getting plenty of nutrients and the vitamins needed for a healthy lifestyle.

Can you get too much vitamin D?

Exposing yourself to too much vitamin D is unlikely to happen through diet or sun exposure as your body regulates the amount of vitamin D produced. However, if you take excessive amounts of vitamin D supplements, this could have a number of side effects including nausea, dehydration, abdominal pain and apathy. Make sure you are only taking the recommended daily dose and always speak to a health care professional if you have concerns.

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