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  • Writer's pictureBITESIZE Nutrition

The Great British Vitamin D Shortage and How it Affects Your Health



Just like many countries, the UK is no stranger to lack of vital sun rays throughout the year and to vitamin D deficiency amongst its population. In fact, a recent study showed that 1 in 4 adults in the UK are deficient in vitamin D. This is especially concerning because as it became wildly known, vitamin D is essential for good health; it helps build and maintain strong bones, muscles, and teeth, and it also plays a role in immune function and cell growth.


As we tend to hibernate a little more in winter, where the colder weather and shorter days make it harder to get out and about, we can end up feeling a little run down. This is especially true after a long period of time spent indoors. Remember how you felt during/after the lockdown pandemic?


The Consequences of Vitamin D Deficiency


Vitamin D deficiency and even insufficiency can lead to a number of health problems, including osteoporosis, muscle weakness, and an increased risk of falls and fractures. It can also contribute to fatigue and depression. In children, vitamin D deficiency can cause rickets, a condition that leads to softening and weakening of the bones.


There are certain groups of people who are particularly at risk of vitamin D deficiency. These include people with dark skin, older adults, pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, and people who don't get out much or who always wear sunscreen when they're outdoors. People with Crohn's disease or other gastrointestinal disorders may also be at risk because they may not absorb enough vitamin D from food or supplements.



Getting Enough Vitamin D


So how can you make sure you are getting enough vitamin D? The best way to get vitamin D is by spending time outdoors in direct sunlight—ideally for 15 minutes a day during the summer months and 30 minutes a day during the winter months (from October to March). But I know that's not always possible or practical, so here are some other ways to get your Vit-D boost:


• Eat foods that are high in vitamin D such as oily fish (such as Salmon or Mackrell), organic free range eggs, fortified plant based milks and cereals, and certain mushrooms.

• Get regular exposure to light during daylight hours (by sitting near a window or using a light therapy lamps)

• Take a daily supplement. Here are my top 3 Vitamin D supplements:



 

If you're concerned about your vitamin D levels, ask your doctor for a blood test.

You can also speak to us to recommend the best Vitamin D home testing kit for you.



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