Why is Vitamin D Important?
Vitamin D is important for healthy bones. In the UK we get most of our vitamin D from the sunlight starting from around April to the end of September. We need vitamin D in our body to help absorb calcium and phosphate from our diets, if you only have a small amount of vitamin D in your diet then only a small part of calcium can be absorbed and only half of phosphorous would be absorbed therefore meaning your bones wont be as strong and can become more brittle.
How do we get vitamin D?
Our body actually creates vitamin D directly from sunlight on our skin when we are outdoors, from around the end of spring to the start of autumn we should get all the vitamin D we need from sunlight. However, there are foods in which you can get it from such as oily fish, red meat, and eggs. It is also added to all infant formula milk as well as some breakfast cereals or spreads. The benefits of vitamin D include: improving your mood, preventing bone fractures, prevents falls especially in older people, prevent osteoporosis, and can help to prevent children from getting rickets.
How long to spend in the sun?
The problem is that too much skin exposure can lead to health risks such as skin cancer, but too little exposure can be the reason that most people don’t get enough vitamin D. By just spending 10-15 minutes in the sun without sun cream a day can help to absorb the vitamin D you need, however ensure that you apply sun cream and cover up before you start to burn or turn red. Some people may need more time in the sun and some people may need less time as it all depends on factors such as a person’s skin colour or how much skin you have exposed. Ensure that if you are spending a long time out in the sun that you cover up as prolonged periods of sun exposure can lead to a greater risk of skin cancer.
In the UK we do not get much sun during the winter so our winter sun doesn’t contain enough UVB radiation so that our skin can produce vitamin D. So during these months we have to rely on getting vitamin D from our foods and possibly supplements. Using sunbeds is not a recommended way of getting vitamin D. There are some people who are at greater risk of a vitamin deficiency such as: babies, children, older people especially those who live in a care home and may not have access to sun as much. These groups may need supplements, if you would like more information about vitamin D supplements then visit this website. https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/how-to-get-vitamin-d-from-sunlight/?tabname=seasonal-health