Should I be taking Vitamin D?

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Vitamin D

Should I be taking Vitamin D

Many patients are currently asking if they should be taking vitamin D supplements as they have heard that it will help fight Coronavirus. Whilst I can't confirm either way that it will definitely help you fight Coronavirus, I can honestly say that
You should be taking it. In this country between the end of September and the start of April it is unlikely you will be getting enough sunlight to help your body absorb vitamin D. This year, thanks to lockdown you are less likely to have been out and about, so will be exposed to insufficient amounts of vitamin D through sunlight.

Why is Vitamin D important

As a fat soluble vitamin D (also known as calciferol) helps your body to absorb calcium and phosphorus which are used to create and build strong bones. However that isn’t all that Vitamin D can do for you.
  • It can reduce inflammation

  • It plays a role in cell growth, neuromuscular & immune function, glucose metabolism.
  • Some studies have also suggested that it may also play a role in fight diseases reducing your risk of developing multiple sclerosis, heart disease and flu.
  • Vitamin D has been found to play an important role in regulating your mood and keeping depression at bay.
  • A lack of vitamin D has been linked to bone deformities such as rickets in children, and can cause osteomalacia (a weakening of the bones and pain) in adults.

Why is Vitamin D difficult to get

Many factors can stop you getting enough vitamin D.
  • A large amount of the vitamin D we absorb comes from sunlight.
  • In the UK between October and March the number of hours of sunlight is reduced.

The following can all reduce the amount of vitamin D you absorb from the sunlight.
  • Using sunscreen
  • Spending little time outside
  • Living in an area with high pollution
  • Living in an area with buildings blocking the natural light
  • Having darker skin means more melanin which means the skin is less able to absorb vitamin D
  • Few foods contain a natural source of Vitamin D. In some countries foods have vitamin D added to them. You will need to check any processed food to see it has been fortified with vitamin D.

How much vitamin D do I need?

  • As an adult you need 10 micrograms of vitamin D a day.
  • Children under 1 need 8.5-10 micrograms a day.

How do I get enough vitamin D

Between April and September being outside daily in direct sunlight with your forearms, hands and lower legs uncovered for short periods should ensure you get enough sunlight. Researchers have not yet currently determined exactly how long you need to be in sunlight for as it depends on how much skin is exposed and your skin colour.

You can supplement your sunlight exposure by ensuring you eat a wide range of foods which contain Vitamin D including
  • Salmon, sardines and other oily fish.
  • Red meat such as beef, lamb, pork, liver.
  • Egg yolks
  • Fortified foods – such as some fat spreads and breakfast cereals have vitamin D added to them, these are fortified foods. in the UK milk is not fortified.

How osteopaths can help

As an osteopath I have understand the impacts low vitamin D levels can have on the body and to help patients understand the importance of vitamin D. I will review the risk factors and determine which apply to you. I will advise you to seek further medical help if appropriate, and will recommend lifestyle changes if I feel they are appropriate. If you would like to know more please email me or call me on 07474 521 329