With the end of summer fast approaching we get ready to say goodbye to the sun until next year. With this happening, its worth having a think about our levels of vitamin D.
What is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is confusingly not a vitamin! It’s actually a hormone which is created within the body. Vitamin D is sometimes called the “sunshine vitamin” as our bodies are able to create vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. Unfortunately, due to the awful weather we often experience in the UK, it can be difficult to gain enough exposure to the sun in winter months.
Why do I need it?
Adequate levels of vitamin D are essential for good health. Our bodies uses vitamin D to absorb calcium and phosphate from food. A vitamin D deficiency can cause soft bones (rickets) in children and misshapen and fragile bones in adults.
A vitamin D deficiency has been linked to numerous health problems including;
- Heart Disease
- High Blood Pressure
With these potential outcomes, it’s worth taking a moment to think about how you’ll get enough vitamin D.
Can’t I just get Vitamin D from the Sun?
According to the NHS, from late March till the end of September, most people can get all the Vitamin D that they need from exposure to the sun. 15-30 minutes of exposure to the forearms or lower legs is enough for people with lighter skin with people with darker skin needing 30 minutes to 1hr.
Unfortunately in the UK we receive very little sunlight from October onward. For this reason, the NHS recommends a daily supplement of 10mcg during the winter months.
Vegan Sources of Vitamin D
We vegans are not alone in needing additional sources of vitamin D. As many as 1 in 5 people in the UK suffering from a deficiency. Vitamin D can be found in a number of fortified foods such as plant milks and cereal as well as in mushrooms. (Particularly portobello and maitake.)
If choosing to supplement, be careful that you choose a vegan friendly option. Many vitamin D supplements are derived from sheep’s wool. We highly recommend the vegan society Veg-1 supplement. It’s very reasonably priced and supports the fantastic outreach work that they do.
- Vitamin D is essential for good health
- You can gain enough Vitamin D through your skin during the summer. In the winter it may be wise to supplement
- Not all Vitamin D supplements are Vegan friendly.
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