We were recently chatting with Lisa Blair, our friend at Saviour Snacks in-house nutritionist, about the importance of Vitamin D and thought January would be the perfect time to share her words of wisdom..
50% of the UK population are vitamin D deficient – do you know your number?
We used to think that vitamin D was mainly important for bone health, but now hardly a month goes by without another research report being published with yet more compelling evidence of the importance of this vitamin.
Signs that you are low
General symptoms include:
– general tiredness
– vague aches and pains and muscle weakness
– bone pain
– low mood and depression
Apart from these, more serious conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer and autoimmune diseases and even Alzheimer’s have all been associated with inadequate levels of vitamin D.
Key sources of this nutrient
Food sources – These are limited to: oily fish such as salmon, herring, mackerel and sardines along with eggs, milk and shiitake mushrooms. There are also some fortified foods available such as juice and yoghurt.
Sunshine – You can top up your levels really well by sitting in the sunshine but it is important that you do use sunblock and are sensible about avoiding sunburn. People with darker skin have to spend longer in the sunshine to top up their levels.
For six months of the year, between October to April, much of Western Europe (including 90% of the UK) is too far north to have enough UVB rays in its sunlight to make vitamin D in the skin. So, many people in the UK are at risk of not getting enough vitamin D during these months unless they get it from other sources.
Supplements – Another option is to use a supplement. NHS guidelines state a maximum of 1000iu per day and it’s probably best not to deviate from this without the advice of a heath professional as it is certainly possible to have too much of a good thing. Vitamin D3 is the active form of the nutrient so may be more effective than other forms, such as vitamin D2.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble nutrient so best taken as a supplement with your biggest meal of the day and one that includes a little fat. People who eat very low fat diets can be at greater risk of deficiency.
Lisa Blair, Saviour’s in-house nutritional therapist says “my advice to minimise any health risks from this deficiency is to get a blood test done to check your level and deal with any deficiency that you find. Given that 50% of the UK population is low in this vital nutrient it is highly likely to be a problem for you and it is easy to do something about it.”
Thanks again to Lisa over at Saviour Snacks! It’s a New Year so make it a new you with some added Vitamin D!
For more recipes, tips and information, visit the Saviour Snacks website!