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Monday, 24 January 2022

Vitamin D - are you getting enough?


~ our two youngest grand-children enjoying some winter sun on the beach ~

"Vitamin D helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body. These nutrients are needed to keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy.

A lack of vitamin D can lead to bone deformities such as rickets in children, and bone pain caused by a condition called osteomalacia in adults.

(UK) Government advice is that everyone should consider taking a daily vitamin D supplement during the autumn and winter.

People at high risk of not getting enough vitamin D, all children aged 1 to 4, and all babies (unless they're having more than 500ml of infant formula a day) should take a daily supplement throughout the year.

There have been some reports about vitamin D reducing the risk of coronavirus (COVID-19). But there is currently not enough evidence to support taking vitamin D solely to prevent or treat COVID-19.

Good sources of vitamin D
From about late March/early April to the end of September, most people should be able to make all the vitamin D they need from sunlight.

The body creates vitamin D from direct sunlight on the skin when outdoors.

But between October and early March we do not make enough vitamin D from sunlight. Read more about vitamin D and sunlight.


Vitamin D is also found in a small number of foods.
Sources include:
oily fish – such as salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel
red meat
liver
egg yolks
fortified foods – such as some fat spreads and breakfast cereals

Another source of vitamin D is dietary supplements.

In the UK, cows' milk is generally not a good source of vitamin D because it is not fortified, as it is in some other countries.

How much vitamin D do I need?
From about late March/early April to the end of September, the majority of people should be able to make all the vitamin D they need from sunlight on their skin.

Children from the age of 1 year and adults need 10 micrograms of vitamin D a day. This includes pregnant and breastfeeding women, and people at risk of vitamin D deficiency.

Babies up to the age of 1 year need 8.5 to 10 micrograms of vitamin D a day.

A microgram is 1,000 times smaller than a milligram (mg). The word microgram is sometimes written with the Greek symbol μ followed by the letter g (μg).

Sometimes the amount of vitamin D is expressed as International Units (IU). 1 microgram of vitamin D is equal to 40 IU. So 10 micrograms of vitamin D is equal to 400 IU.

Should I take a vitamin D supplement?
Advice for adults and children over 4 years old
During the autumn and winter, you need to get vitamin D from your diet because the sun is not strong enough for the body to make vitamin D.

But since it's difficult for people to get enough vitamin D from food alone, everyone (including pregnant and breastfeeding women) should consider taking a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D during the autumn and winter.

Between late March/early April to the end of September, most people can make all the vitamin D they need through sunlight on their skin and from a balanced diet.

You may choose not to take a vitamin D supplement during these months.

People at risk of vitamin D deficiency
Some people will not make enough vitamin D from sunlight because they have very little or no sunshine exposure.

The Department of Health and Social Care recommends that adults and children over 4 take a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D throughout the year if they:
are not often outdoors – for example, if they're frail or housebound
are in an institution like a care home
usually wear clothes that cover up most of their skin when outdoors

If you have dark skin – for example you have an African, African-Caribbean or south Asian background – you may also not make enough vitamin D from sunlight.

You should consider taking a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D throughout the year.

Advice for infants and young children
The Department of Health and Social Care recommends that babies from birth to 1 year of age should have a daily supplement containing 8.5 to 10 micrograms of vitamin D throughout the year if they are:
breastfed
formula-fed and are having less than 500ml (about a pint) of infant formula a day, as infant formula is already fortified with vitamin D

Children aged 1 to 4 years old should be given a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D throughout the year.

You can buy vitamin D supplements or vitamin drops containing vitamin D (for under 5s) at most pharmacies and supermarkets.

Women and children who qualify for the Healthy Start scheme can get free supplements containing vitamin D.

What happens if I take too much vitamin D?
Taking too many vitamin D supplements over a long period of time can cause too much calcium to build up in the body (hypercalcaemia). This can weaken the bones and damage the kidneys and the heart.

If you choose to take vitamin D supplements, 10 micrograms a day will be enough for most people.

Do not take more than 100 micrograms (4,000 IU) of vitamin D a day as it could be harmful. This applies to adults, including pregnant and breastfeeding women and the elderly, and children aged 11 to 17 years.

Children aged 1 to 10 years should not have more than 50 micrograms (2,000 IU) a day. Infants under 12 months should not have more than 25 micrograms (1,000 IU) a day.

Some people have medical conditions that mean they may not be able to safely take as much. If in doubt, you should consult your doctor.

If your doctor has recommended you take a different amount of vitamin D, you should follow their advice.


You cannot overdose on vitamin D through exposure to sunlight. But always remember to cover up or protect your skin if you're out in the sun for long periods to reduce the risk of skin damage and skin cancer."
Words above taken from the UK's NHS website here

Related Post
Why you need more Vitamin D in the winter - see here

The above is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact your local health care provider.


Roast vegetable frittata with mackerel
mackerel, a good source of Vitamin D
see recipe/more details here

Dear reader, you will find a variety of articles and recipe ideas are within this blog. Please note, not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

All the best Jan

40 comments:

Suzan said...

I need to raise a point. I liven subtropical Australia and have low levels of vitamin D. I have avoided sunlight all my life to avoid melanoma. That did not work. Nor did it keep sun damage to a minimum. I now take 2 capsules of vitamin D daily. At first I was started on ten! That was not for long but scary at the time.

I have since read that sun avoidance has seen many Australian's develop this deficiency. So take care everyone.

Lowcarb team member said...

Hello Suzan
Thank you for your comment and many thanks for raising this point.

As I said in my post, it is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. If any reader has any concerns about their general health, it is important to contact their medical team/ or local health care provider.

The UK's NHS site has more details about How to get Vitamin D from sunlight, the information is here:-
https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/how-to-get-vitamin-d-from-sunlight/

I do not know if the Australian Health Department have any helpful articles to read, if you know of any please do share them.

I would also ask readers in countries other than the UK, if they know of a helpful site regarding Vitamin D do please share the details in a comment.

Once again Suzan my thanks for your sharing your thoughts.

Take care, and have a good week ahead.

All the best Jan

Tom said...

...my doctor tests me and things look good.

J.P. Alexander said...

Buenos consejos. Te mando un beso

Christine said...

I take a supplement and drink milk

peppylady (Dora) said...

I eat lot sardines, they work great in my lunch.
Coffee is on and stay safe

Margaret D said...

Interesting article.
Suzan from the top end of Australia is correct - there are many people in Australia who stayed out of the sun or covered themselves up so no sun would get on them at all, this was some years back - all due to them maybe getting skin cancer now to find out what Suzan says...what a pity.
That's life, fortunately I was not one of them having spent many a day and day on the beach and in the sun a little these days..all things in moderation.

Elephant's Child said...

On doctors advice I take a vitamin D supplement all year round. Apparently my MS means that my body needs the help, which I am happy to give it.

Iris Flavia said...

I think I get enough, but, really. I can´t wait for Spring - these days I have to make myself going outside... But I do, have eggs, mushrooms, cheese, all good :-)
Interesting article, though!

Jo said...

An interesting post. There's so many things we need to be aware of to keep our body healthy.

Phil Slade said...

It's almost impossible to get enough sunlight in a typical UK winter. Even though I spend time outside, I only get sun on hands and face. Your post is important reading for many people.
m

Bob Bushell said...

That's unfair, I am a vegan, can you tell me what I do?

chica said...

Lindo e esclarecedor post! Precisamos cuidar e manter a VIT D bem certinha! beijos, linda semana! chica

NASSAH said...

Great post, winter here, sometimes sun but we look for spring to have more vitamin D

Susan Zarzycki said...

Great post and I liked the photo of your grands.💖

eileeninmd said...

Hello,

Love the photo of grandchildren. I do take a Vit D supplement.
We are not seeing much sunshine now, more cloudy days. Take care, enjoy your new week!

bread&salt said...

Very useful article. In winter time, we rarely see suny day but we consume fish base dishes alot in winter. Hope it helps the D vitamine support. Also we use vitamine D supplement during the year.

Jeanie said...

I take Vitamin D supplements every day, including in the summer when I'm out a lot, on the dose my doc recommended after checking blood tests. It's an easy thing to add to a daily schedule.

Conniecrafter said...

Even with all I have tried naturally I still need to take a vitamin D pill every day to keep my levels correct

Divers and Sundry said...

I'm lucky to like many foods that are good for me, but I do take a Vitamin D supplement.

Valerie-Jael said...

I have vitamin D supplements. It's an important vitamin. Valerie

Kinga K. said...

I like Vitamin D❤

Laura. M said...

Preciosos foto y un buen día con sol y mar. Buenos beneficios nos aporta el sol.
Gracias por la información.
Un abrazo.

DVArtist said...

Great post with excellent information.

This N That said...

As we age, our body doesn't adsorb vitamins as it should making supplements necessary. Sunlight won't do it...Cute grands!!

CJ Kennedy said...

Good to know

Lorrie said...

We take Vitamin D tablets in the darker months. It's often so grey and dark here, and we are at too high a latitude to get enough from the sun.

Lowcarb team member said...

Bob Bushell said...
That's unfair, I am a vegan, can you tell me what I do?

Hello Bob
Many thanks for your comment and question.

Mushrooms in general contain Vitamin D
Fortified Foods, for example some breakfast cereals often have Vitamin D added
Plant milks contain Vitamin D

These articles will provide you with more information:-

The Vegan Diet (UK's NHS site)
https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/the-vegan-diet/

The Vegan Diet and Vitamin D : Everything You Need To Know
https://yourveganjourney.com/vegan-guide-to-vitamin-d/

Children and adults on a vegan diet may need supplements
https://thelowcarbdiabetic.blogspot.com/2021/08/children-and-adults-on-vegan-diet-may.html

As I said in my original post, this post was provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. If you (or any reader) has any concerns about their general health, it is important to contact your medical team/or local health care provider.

I hope my answer to your question, with the added information links are helpful for you.

All the best Jan

Kim said...

I know I don't get enough, I'm trying harder now, but it's not easy.

happyone said...

Very informative.

Rose said...

This is such a good post....

William Kendall said...

I do take a supplement this time of year.

kitty@ Kitty's Kozy Kitchen said...

I take vitamin D supplements each day.

NatureFootstep said...

not sure really. I am out several h daily. but as it is winter I am well dressed. :)

Flowermouse Design ❀ Lone said...

Thank you so much for this post Jan❣️ So informative. I have been to the Dead Sea and three weeks there makes the skin take up a lot of vitamin D. I was amazed on how much it actually was. In fact, you do not need sun lotion when you have been in the sun a few days due to the low point of the place and low UV radiation. They also taught that we do not get enough of the vitamin due to limited amount of exposure to the sun without sun lotion where we live. The sun lotion block for it, they told us. The UV radiation is high here compared to there. They actually advised to use supplement the whole year due to this. Oh, vitamin D - it is so interesting and underrated for our health. Thank you for pointing it out. All the best to you dear Jan❣️

Hilly Nicolay said...

I take vitamin D every day, not too much.

Teresa said...

Siempre son interesantes tus reportajes. Besos.

Debbie said...

i try to get enough in my diet, it is very important for people living with MS. i also supplement it!!

carol l mckenna said...

Very informative post about Vitamin D ~ Xo


Wishing you lots of laughter in your days,

A ShutterBug Explores,
aka (A Creative Harbor)

Snowbird said...

A good reminder to take vitamin D!xxx