Vitamin D has several health benefits and supports our immune system. Since the start of the Coronavirus (covid-19) pandemic vitamin D has been getting into the news. As we move into autumn and winter we are seeing more information in the news, websites and government guidance, but why is this?
Vitamin D – what is it?
Vitamin D is in a group of essential nutrients called micronutrients, which includes minerals and vitamins. Micronutrients are vital for supporting the immune system, preventing disease, normal growth and general good health. Micronutrients are taken in small amounts and mainly come from the food we eat. Eating a well balances diet should ensure that we get most of the micronutrients that our bodies need to keep us healthy.
Vitamin D – what does it do?
Vitamin D has several important functions. Perhaps the most important are regulating the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, which are vital for normal growth, development of bones and teeth, our immune system as well as improved resistance against certain diseases.
Vitamin D – why is it different?
We get most of the nutrients we need to keep our bodies healthy from the food we eat. Vitamin D is different, some foods contain very small amounts of vitamin D, but we get most of our vitamin D from sunlight. Vitamin D is often called the sunshine vitamin, when our skin is exposed to sunlight, it makes vitamin D from cholesterol. The sun’s ultraviolet B (UVB) rays hit cholesterol in the skin cells, providing the energy for vitamin D synthesis to occur.
Vitamin D – should I take supplements?
During the covid-19 pandemic we have been subject to lock downs, which has restricted some of our outdoor activities. As we move into winter there is less sunlight and we naturally stay indoors more. All this limits our exposure to sunlight and our ability to produce vitamin D.
The UK government recommends that we take vitamin D supplements and has issued guidance which can be found at: –