Time to Think Vitamin D
Vitamin D is well known for its role in bone health. In fact, it is a hormone which plays an important role in many bodily processes. Therefore, its deficiency can negatively affect our health. It has been associated with osteoporosis, cancer and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Research suggests that it could play a role in diabetes, hypertension and immune function.
Vitamin D deficiency in Ireland is all too prevalent. According to the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, everyone living in Ireland has an inadequate intake of Vitamin D. At 53 degrees north, Ireland doesn’t provide enough ultraviolet rays from sunlight to trigger sufficient Vitamin D synthesis in our skin. Hence, our Vitamin D status during the winter months really depends on our intake through food. Food sources include: oily fish like salmon and mackerel, egg yolks, and fortified products such as some brands of milk, spreads, and cereals. The amount of Vitamin D in these are low so achieving healthy levels through food can be somewhat challenging.
So, should you be taking a supplement?
There are plenty of great options which make getting your Vitamin D intake easier. See here for options. Always ask an expert for advice first. Too much intake of Vitamin D can cause a build-up of calcium in your blood. As different population groups have different requirements it is important to be assessed by a health professional who can decide the adequate supplement form and dosage. Talk to your General Practitioner and get tested if you’re concerned about your Vitamin D levels, and to a Nutritionist to work on a plan that can help you increase your intake through diet or supplementation.
This information has been brought to you by Dublin-based Nutrition Consultant Karla Bohan. Karla received her Diploma in Nutritional Therapy from The College of Naturopathic Medicine in Ireland and she specialises in Weight Management and Sports Nutrition.