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Vitamin D: What do you need to know?
Vitamin D is a very important ingredient to the body, with deficiencies leading to many health problems.
With the increasing heat and sunshine levels, vitamin D is in abundance, however many people are still missing out.
The National Osteoporosis Society has a campaign to remind Brits to spend a few minutes outside every day between the months of May and September in order to keep their vitamin D levels up.
Where is it found?
Vitamin D is most easily found naturally in sunlight, meaning it is imperative that during the summer you make sure to venture outside to lap up some of this essential vitamin. Although you must remember to also protect yourself against the harmful UVA and UVB rays.
Nutritional supplements are also a great way of topping up your vitamin D and can be used as part of a healthy lifestyle, however the NHS recommends not taking more than 25 micrograms a day.
A small number of foods also contain this vitamin, including oily fish, eggs, powdered milk, fortified fat spreads and breakfast cereals.
Why do we need it?
Vitamin D has several important functions, including the regulation of calcium and phosphate in the body. These two nutrients help keep bones and teeth healthy.
A lack of vitamin D can lead to bone deformities, including rickets in children and tenderness and bone pain in adults, who are more likely to suffer from osteoporosis or osteomalacia.
Who needs it most?
There are some groups of people who are more at risk of not getting enough vitamin D, meaning they may need to reassess their diet and lifestyle.
These include pregnant and breastfeeding women, children under five and those over the age of 65.
"Vitamin D is quite common to be low because if older people are less active, and spending less time outdoors, then they don't tend to get as much sunlight exposure," warns Cheryl Wilson, head clinician at the Nutrition Coach clinic.
This makes it all the more important that people take advantage of the recent sunny spell - it won't last forever!
Posted by Matilda Jones