• Lucy Francis

Vitamin D – The Facts

Updated: Sep 17, 2020

Hello first week of October! Perfect timing for a little reminder about Vitamin D…

The Details:

Vitamin D, although termed a ‘vitamin’, is actually a hormone and it’s pretty important. Vitamin D is a potent immune regulator and can influence the expression of genes. It works in synergy with calcium, magnesium and phosphate for maintaining good bone, muscle and nerve function – without enough vitamin D we cannot absorb calcium.

Our body internally produces vitamin D when sunlight hits the skin (the angle of the sun is also important in how efficient this process is). Unfortunately at this time of year through to March, we don’t have the sun strength to make this internal production reliable, so the NHS recommend we supplement with the following amounts below for prevention of rickets in children and osteomalacia for adults, resulting in the softening of bones.

Supplementation dose for ‘optimal’ levels can differ greatly depending on your personal health status (i.e. those with certain auto-immune conditions or gut disorders may need higher amounts). You can check your vitamin D levels with your GP if necessary.

Supplement recommendations as per NHS:

0-1yr olds: 8.5-10mcg (unless on fortified formula milk; 32 ounces provides the daily RNI for babies)

1 yrs > + adults: 10mcg (this dose can vary – to be discussed with your healthcare provider)

Vitamin D is fat soluble, meaning supplements usually have an oil bound within for optimal absorption. For supplements without, ensure to consume it with a fat source/part of a main meal.

Food sources of Vitamin D (not to solely rely on though due to inadequate amounts alone) include:

• Oily fish (I.e. salmon, mackerel, sardines, anchovies, herring)

• Egg yolks

• Dairy products (yoghurt, cheese, milk)

• UV exposed mushrooms (d2 plant form)

• Fortified plant milks/products

• Beef liver

Check out my frittata recipe here for a meal containing dietary vitamin D (due to the inclusion of mushrooms and feta cheese!) – perfect for brunch to dig into with friends, delicious and nutritious!

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