When we talk about Vitamin D, we usually associate it with the healthy formation of our bones and that we get it from exposure to the sun. But how else do we benefit from a regular intake of vitamin D? How much do we need? What other ways, other than sun exposure, can we get it?
Vitamin D is indeed crucial to our bone health and the formation of our skeleton however its benefits go far beyond that. For example, vitamin D acts as an antioxidant, regulates immune activity, modulates our moods in the winter months and more.
Vitamin D receptors are found in most organs in our body (intestines, pancreas, kidney, lungs, thyroid, etc.) so vitamin D also affects their health and functions.
TYPES OF VITAMIN D
There are two main forms of Vitamin D – vitamin D2 and vitamin D3.
Vitamin D2 is not made naturally by our bodies and so we need to consume foods such as egg yolks, cheese, mushrooms and beef liver.
Vitamin D3 is made when the body gets unprotected exposure to the sun light (and also from fatty fish). The limited sun exposure we get in the winter months combined with SPF and protecting ourselves against the suns damaging rays, means our vitamin D3 intake is much reduced.
Below are some of the benefits of Vitamin D to our organ systems and some of the consequences of not having sufficient vitamin D in our diet.
VITAMIN D - BONE & MUSCLE HEALTH
Our bone and muscle structure and function are supported by Vitamin D. Historically, the deficiency of vitamin D resulted in rickets which is the softening and weakening of bones in children due to extreme and prolonged vitamin d deficiency in diet and low sun exposure. Vitamin D deficiency also affects adults, which is evidenced by an increased risk in certain types of bone fractures and forms of weakened muscles.
HOW DO I KNOW IF I AM DEFICIENT IN VITAMIN D?
Should you suffer from symptoms such as regular colds and coughs, fatigue, mood fluctuation, sore bones or muscle aches you could be lacking in vitamin D.
- Further signs and symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include:
- Bone pain
- Muscle ache/pain, weakness, cramps
The best way to know whether you low levels of vitamin D however is to get a blood test from your GP.
WHAT IS THE RECOMMENDED DOSAGE OF VITAMIN D?
As a minimum safe adult dose, should you choose to take a vitamin D supplement, 10 µg a day will be enough.
As a guide, and according to the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, the recommended daily intake of vitamin D for ‘older adults’ is 15 μg – 20 μg depending on the amount of sunlight exposure they are getting or whether they are housebound.
Please ask any of our staff in Mullanys Kilminchy Pharmacy for advise on the dosage of vitamin D recommended for you and the supplement that will best suit your need
WHICH SUPPLEMENT SHOULD I CONSIDER?
Please contact Mullanys Kilminchy Pharmacy to discuss your specific requirements and a member of our staff can recommend one that best suits your needs.