Getting the right balance of vitamins and minerals every day can be a challenge, but it’s essential for our health and wellbeing. In particular, Vitamin D plays an important role in several bodily functions. But what is it good for and why is it important to get enough of this crucial vitamin every day? In this blog, we’ll outline why Vitamin D is so beneficial to our health and the roles it plays in the body.
Why is Vitamin D so important?
Also known as the sunshine vitamin, Vitamin D is a fat-soluble nutrient that actually comes in two forms – D2 and D3. The former comes primarily from plants, while D3 is produced by the skin when it’s exposed to sunlight. It’s also found in several food sources too. Vitamin D contributes to our health in a number of ways.
Firstly, as the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) explains, Vitamin D supports normal calcium absorption which is essential for bone health, as well as aiding nerve function and maintaining healthy blood pressure.
Vitamin D is also important for our muscle function, particularly as we age when muscle function can deteriorate. This vitamin is also beneficial for our natural defences, supporting our immune system and helping the body to prevent viruses.
How do I get enough Vitamin D every day?
Vitamin D can be produced by spending time in the sun, and our bodies are capable of producing the majority of what we need in terms of Vitamin D3. The NHS suggests that as little as 20 to 30 minutes can be enough time to get what you need. However, sitting in the sun comes with its own risks of skin damage, so doing so safely is key. There’s also the fact that the sun in the UK isn’t always strong enough to trigger the process of converting UV rays to Vitamin D3.
To ensure you are getting enough of the vitamin each day, some people choose to safeguard their intake through vitamin D tablets. This is a great option for people who live in areas that don’t receive a lot of sunlight or who are wary of sitting in the sun for too long.
Vitamin D2 and D3 can also be sourced from food, albeit in smaller quantities. Oily fish, egg yolks, butter, liver and red meat are great sources of D3, which means that vegans and vegetarians can struggle to get enough of this form of Vitamin D from their diet, while D2 is found in plant sources such as mushrooms. There’s also the option of fortified foods like bread or cereals which often have nutrients like this added to the ingredients.
Getting the right amount of Vitamin D every day is essential for several areas of our health to avoid deficiency, but it’s important to do so safely. Supplements are a good way to safeguard this and ensure that you’re not relying on the sun or your diet to get the right quantity of this vitamin.