Many Australians are now being diagnosed with low levels of Vitamin D.
As the majority of our Vitamin D comes from sunlight, this could be due to the push to be sunsmart and people spending more time indoors. Winter time creates an even greater challenge to get enough Vitamin D.
So why do we need Vitamin D? Vitamin D is vital for normal development and growth of cells, bones and teeth as well as good immune function.
Low levels of Vitamin D have been linked to Parkinson’s disease, obesity in children, asthma and heart disease.
This deficiency may also be putting us at risk of diabetes, brittle bone disease and possibly some cancers.
In the elderly, Vitamin D deficiency is often a factor in weak bones and muscle aches and pains. For pregnant women, lack of Vitamin D has been shown to cause problems with bone growth in the unborn child.
The best way to get Vitamin D is from direct sunlight as it is very hard to get enough through your diet alone. Unfortunately a side effect of being sun smart and covering up means you may be missing out on the Vitamin D you need as you cannot get it without direct exposure. So a balanced approach to sun exposure is necessary to avoid the risk of skin cancer and yet get an adequate dose of sunshine.
A good rule of thumb is to get out into the sunshine for at least 20 minutes a day and don’t wear SPF during this time.
With shorter daylight hours and weaker sunshine in Winter some people may need to look at alternatives to get the Vitamin D they need.
Vitamin D3 supplements are widely available and quite inexpensive.
A dosage of 1000IU of Vitamin D3 every day can help improve Vitamin D levels in the body. Finally taking Vitamin D with bone supplements helps the absorption of Calcium into the body.