Vitamin D...The sunshine hormone
Vitamin D - The what, why, where, when, who & how...
If you are following my Instagram page ( handle - @staceygeracenutrition) you would have noticed that I often post on my stories a few tips on how to make the most of the sunshine during the vitamin D absorption window - along with my daily reminders using the Dminder app which informs us of when to get out into the daily window, the UV index, time to burn and more (convenient app to have).
I thought I would give you some further information about vitamin D in this blog... Hit reply and let me know if anything surprises you.
WHAT - Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin. It helps the body absorb calcium from food.
It is not readily available in our diet & it is synthesised within the body when our skin is exposed to the sun.
Vitamin D occurs in 2 forms -
D3 or Cholecalciferol is produced by the action of sunlight on the skin.
D2 or Ergocalciferol - is found in a limited range of foods.
WHY - Vitamin D is essential, it is extremely important for:
Supporting immune Health
Improves bone health (via supporting calcium absorption.
Reduces risk of bone loss & fracture risk in the elderly.
It may assist in reducing the risk of certain diseases.
Reduces depressive symptoms
Potentially improves strength
Potentially improves fat loss
WHERE TO FIND VITAMIN D -
- Mackerel, Salmon, herring (oily fish)
- Egg yolks Cod liver oil,
- Fortified cereals, milk, yoghurt, butter, and juices.
- Mushrooms that have been exposed to sunlight (UV).
- Exposure to direct sunlight. Within the window of absorption which is dependent on the angle & degree of the sun (dependent on where you live).
- In winter, the angle of the sun is too low, so no absorption occurs during this time.
For your knowledge -
How to optimise Vitamin D absorption, as SUNLIGHT is our BEST source.
- 15-20 minutes of direct sun exposure in the absorption window with skin exposed.
Vitamin D won't synthesise through sunscreen.
Absorption will not occur through glass windows either.
CARE does need to be taken to prevent sunburn by moving out of direct sunlight before the skin reddens.
** Use your shadow**... The best time for absorption is when you are taller or the same height as your shadow this is when the window is open and the sun is at the correct height & angle.
WHEN - to see a GP if you or your child presents with the following symptoms.
- Severe bone or muscle pain or weakness
-Aches in joints
-Tiredness, aches, and pains
-Stress fractures, especially in your legs, pelvis, and hips
Long-term - Osteoporosis
Long-term - Ricketts
Deficiency occurs when your body doesn’t get enough vitamin D for healthy functioning.
More than 1 in every 3 Australian adults has mild, moderate or severe vitamin D deficiency.
Those at risk -
Older people or those living in care (hospitals, rehabilitation or aged-care facilities)
People who stay indoors
People with the gastrointestinal (digestive) disease
People who cover their skin for religious or cultural reasons
Adolescence & young children
Those in protective clothing, or always using sunscreen
Recommended Dietary intake (RDI) across the lifespan.
The current Australian Adequate Intakes (AI) are around -
200 IU/day for ages 0-50 years moving up to 400 IU/day for 51-70yrs then 600 IU/day for 70+
These recommendations are on the lower end with more appropriate & safe levels being 2500-4000 IU/day for adults. Infants & children around 400-600IU/day
It is always best to get a blood test from your GP to determine if levels are sufficient or if needing to supplement appropriately from these findings.
-Ideally, to quickly increase Vitamin D stores is to consider supplementation, being a fat-soluble vitamin we can store in our bodies, yet these will need to be maintained with regular supplementation, especially if you are unable to get out into the sunshine & during the winter months when the window closes.
- Supplementation should only occur under the guidance of your GP.
DO NOT self-diagnose, as too much vitamin D can be harmful & cause toxicity symptoms such as: -
Vitamin D has many potential benefits. It may reduce the risk of certain diseases, help improve mood and reduce depression symptoms and help with weight management.
It’s hard to get enough vitamin D through diet alone, so you may want to ask your GP for a blood test and then consider taking a vitamin D supplement once discussed with an evidence-based nutritionist about the appropriate dosage for you.
I hope you found this helpful for your knowledge around Vitamin D, feel free to hit reply and let me know your thoughts,
if you have any questions or would like to chat,
Follow for more tips @staceygeracenutrition