Due to the current lockdown government regulations (although some restrictions have been relaxed), we may still not be spending as much time in the sunlight as we used to. As a result of this, ourVitamin D intake could be affected significantly.
We have put together some information on the importance of Vitamin D and how you can still get your recommended intake.
Vitamin D helps to with the absorption and utilisation of Calcium and Phosphorus in our bodies, which are both important nutrients. Calcium helps to support normal muscle function and is needed for normal bones and teeth, while Phosphorus is needed for the normal growth of bones in children as well as energy release. An insufficient amount of Vitamin D, or a deficiency, can cause bone deformities such as Rickets in children, as well as bone pain in adults.
Public Health England recommend that a supplement containing10 micrograms (10mcg or 10µg) of Vitamin D should be takeneveryday to help support the immune system and to help keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy. This is because Vitamin D is created by your body on the skin when exposed to direct sunlight, but many people do not expose themselves to sunlight for long enough to allow their bodies to create the required levels of Vitamin D.
There is no evidence that vitamin D reduces the risk of Coronavirus despite some news reports. However, Vitamin D can support a healthy immune system which is key right now.
We can get Vitamin D from sources other than the sun at times like these. Vitamin D is found in some foods...
oily fish – such as salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel
fortified foods – such as most fat spreads and some breakfast cereals
If you follow a vegan diet, talk to a professional about the best course of action to avoid a deficiency. The best option may be a vegan dietary supplement.
For babies and infants, The Department of Health and Social Care recommends that:
From birth to 1 year of age, breastfed babies should be given a daily supplement containing 8.5 to 10 micrograms of Vitamin D.
Formula-fed babies should not be given a Vitamin D supplement until they're having less than 500ml (about a pint) of infant formula a day, as infant formula is fortified with Vitamin D.
Children aged 1 to 4 years old should be given a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of Vitamin D.
You can buy Vitamin D supplements or vitamin drops containingVitamin D (for under 5s) in many shops, including pharmacies and supermarkets.
For children over 5 years and adults, The Department of Health and Social Care recommends that:
You should take a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms ofVitamin D.
Find out more information on the NHS website.
Feeling low – Serotonin is the hormone which controls your mood, more of it means you feel happier and less of it means you feel down. Your levels of serotonin can fall due to lack of sunlight exposure.
Fatigue and tiredness – there could be many reasons for feeling fatigued and tired, lack of Vitamin D being one of them.
Bone and back pain – Vitamin D helps bone health in many ways, for example, it supports your body’s absorption of Calcium. Studies have found that there is a relationship between back pain and Vitamin D deficiency.
If you have any symptoms or are concerned about the amount of Vitamin D you are getting during lockdown, you should consider taking a dietary supplement suitable for your recommended intake.