When it comes to our health, it seems like we’re continually bombarded with new guidelines. A recent government report has offered some new guidelines about the amount of vitamin D we should consume on a daily basis.
As a general rule, everyone — adults and children over the age of one alike — should consume 10 micrograms of vitamin D every day. But why? Here, vitamin D supplement retailer, Pharma Nord, explains what the vitamin does and why it’s so important.
What does vitamin D do?
Vitamin D is important as it helps the body absorb calcium and phosphate from our diet. Because calcium and phosphate are essential for maintaining healthy bones, teeth and muscles, it’s vital that we keep vitamin D at the optimum level.
We get the majority of our vitamin D through exposure to direct sunlight. However, some does come from our diet and is found in oily fish, red meat and eggs.
Because we rely on sunlight predominantly for vitamin D, it’s often difficult to get the amount that we require during autumn and winter. This is because sunlight doesn’t contain enough UVB radiation between October and early March in the UK. Instead, many people take supplements or change their diet to try and up their vitamin intake and prevent a deficiency occurring.
What happens if you don’t get enough vitamin D?
If your levels of vitamin D drop too low, you will have a deficiency. In children, low levels of vitamin D can cause rickets, a condition that can cause bone deformities as a result of soft, weak bones. Common symptoms of this are bone pain, poor growth, bowed legs, curvature of the spine and thickened ankles, wrists and knees.
In adults, the condition is called osteomalacia and causes muscle and bone pain, as well as small fractures in some cases.
Who does vitamin D deficiencies effect?
Some people are more at risk of vitamin D deficiencies than others. Those at greater risk include babies from birth to one year old, children aged between one and four and people who aren’t exposed to the sun regularly. This may be because they have little or no mobility or cover their skin while outdoors.
Will supplements help?
Public health officials have recommended that everyone considers taking vitamin D supplements in autumn and winter to boost their vitamin D levels.