Feeling tired? Are you getting enough Vitamin D?
It’s that time of the year. The temperature starts to drop, the days get shorter and the nights get longer which often leads to us feeling tired all the time.
As the nights draw in and we put away our summer clothes and sun tan lotion, there is one thing we all need to remember when it comes to optimising our health at this time of the year…vitamin D.
Contained within our skin cells is a compound related to cholesterol. When sunlight (UVB sun rays, to be exact) comes into contact with our skin, it converts this compound into vitamin D.
Vitamin D is very important for our health; amongst a variety of roles it helps to maintain good bone mineral density and helps to maintain our muscle health. As the sun retreats, our skin can’t synthesise as much vitamin D and this could be detrimental to our health in the long-term.
Along with helping our bones and muscles, vitamin D also helps us to absorb calcium too – so how do we keep our levels high over the winter?
Over the next few months, be sure to keep eating plenty of vitamin D rich food such as oily fish, eggs and cheese. You can also find vitamin D in specially fortified foods such as some yoghurt, bread and cereals.
However even with a great diet we still don’t get enough vitamin D from food alone. This is why it is recommended that you also consider a high-quality, tested supplement to give your vitamin D levels a boost over the autumn and winter months. This will help your body stay healthy and strong in the long-term.
Although it’s impossible to know what your levels are without a blood test it is estimated that one in five of us are not getting enough of the ‘sunshine vitamin’ and this can lead to symptoms such as feeling tired, muscle pain and weakness or cramps. Although many people don’t have any symptoms at all and this is why new guidelines have recently been set by the government’s Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN).
So how much should you take? Well the National Osteoporosis Society has some excellent advice and also the latest recommended amount to take:
“We should get 10 micrograms (sometimes described as 10 μg) of vitamin D every day. 10 micrograms (μg) is equal to 400 International Units (IU)”*
As always it’s always best to check with your pharmacist or GP before taking any supplements especially if you are on other medications, although there is little risk of overdosing unless you take very high doses which is not recommended.
To learn more about vitamin D and other fascinating information about how the food you eat affects your health, you can enrol on our brand new nutrition course by clicking this link.
And for more information about bone health from the National Osteoporosis Society* click here