- The so-called ‘sunshine vitamin’ is beneficial for bone and muscle health
Staying at home too long could be the reason more than one in three of us suffers from Vitamin D deficiency, a new study suggests.
The so-called “sunshine vitamin” is beneficial for bone and muscle health, helping to reduce the likelihood of osteoporosis in old age, and is also believed to reduce the risk of type 1 diabetes, respiratory diseases, and other ailments.
But Brits of all ages don’t get enough due to contributing factors such as poor diet, not spending enough time outdoors and not taking supplements to make up the shortfall.
A Food and Nutrition Journal review looking at research including a study among 210,502 patients who underwent a vitamin D test found that one-third did not meet the accepted blood level (30 nmol/liter), increasing to two-thirds in people with darker hair. Skins.
Sunlight is the most recognized way to get vitamin D, but it is affected by sunscreen use, air pollution, cloudiness, and the melanin content of a person’s own skin.
Sunlight is the most recognized way to get vitamin D, but it is affected by sunscreen use, air pollution, cloudiness, and the melanin content of a person’s own skin (File Image)
Foods like oily fish and eggs can help, but only in large enough amounts. Meanwhile, there are fears that the growing movement towards vegetarian and vegan diets may be eliminating some of these ingredients.
The Food and Nutrition Journal’s review of research by the Health and Food Supplement Information Service (HSIS) examined data including the government’s own National Diet and Nutrition Survey, which found that young adults were more likely to be deficient in vitamin D.
One of the research team members, Dr. Pamela Mason, HSIS nutritionist, said: “Closing the gap between vitamin D intake and recommendations is imperative to prevent deficiency and maintain bone and muscle health, particularly for help prevent nutritional rickets and osteomalacia.
‘Vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption and bone mineralisation, which is positively associated with bone mineral density. Good bone health is essential to consolidate bone mass in adulthood and reduce the risk of osteoporosis in the future.’
UK recommendations for daily intake of vitamin D are lower than in most of Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand.
The so-called ‘sunshine vitamin’ is beneficial for bone and muscle health and helps reduce the likelihood of osteoporosis in old age (File Image)
Dr. Mason added: “Very few foods naturally contain vitamin D, and oily fish, such as salmon and mackerel, should be eaten several times a week, if not daily, to meet the 10 mcg daily recommendation.”
‘This is not acceptable to everyone, and only a few foods, such as some cereals and dairy alternatives, are fortified. Therefore, supplementation with a multivitamin and multimineral containing vitamin D appears to be the best way to achieve recommended levels.
‘Vitamin D is cost-effective and easy to take. Additionally, supplementation offers potential cost savings for the NHS. Healthcare professionals are in a position to routinely advise patients to take a 10mcg daily supplement and increase their intake of foods containing vitamin D.
“There is also a need to strengthen counseling through nursing homes, local parenting and community groups, and religious groups.”