Getting enough Vitamin D?

Posted: Friday June 25 2021

By: Abbie Coleman

Do you go in the sunshine most days? Do you wonder if you get enough Vitamin D?

Am I getting enough Vitamin D?

By Vanessa Quarmby

This is the time of year that many of us ‘jet off’ to sunnier countries, have you booked your holiday yet? Do you walk in the sunshine most days or run or ride a horse outside? Do you eat salmon, trout and eggs regularly? If you answered yes to all of these questions then you might have good levels of Vitamin D. However, many of us don’t get enough in our diet and therefore sun exposure and perhaps supplements can be important for many of us. We make vitamin D under our skin when we are out in the sunshine.

It works with calcium to make strong bones and teeth. Children who don’t get enough Vitamin D may develop rickets, this may cause deformed bones and reduce a child’s growth. Vitamin D deficiency may increase the risk of men getting colorectal cancer and women getting breast cancer.

Sunshine is the best source but our diet helps too; look for margarines, yogurts and breakfast cereals that are fortified with vitamin D and eat eggs and oily fish regularly. Don’t rush out in the sunshine and burn your skin, melanoma is a potentially deadly form of skin cancer and getting sunburnt increases your risk of getting melanoma. In the UK, 15 minutes a day in the sun between 11am-3pm with your face and arms exposed (without sun cream) between April to September is enough. If you decide that the risk of skin cancer is too great, always use a high factor sunscreen when outside and take a Vitamin D supplement and regularly eat foods that provide Vitamin D.

There are some people who are more at risk of  deficiency than others; those over 65, children from six months to five years old, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, people with dark skin and anyone who rarely gets outside should all consider taking a supplement. If you are concerned about your Vitamin D level, speak to your GP or ask to be seen by a Dietitian.

So, next time you write your shopping list, add some oily fish such as trout, salmon, kippers or pilchards, Vitamin D fortified margarine, breakfast cereals and eggs…what a good reason to get baking with the children on rainy days over the summer holidays, well, after all, it’s a good excuse to eat cake using eggs and fortified margarine isn’t it?!