Vitamin of November: Vitamin D

Vitamin D is one of those vitamins your body simply can’t do without. Known as the Sunshine Vitamin, it helps you absorb calcium and phosphates, and as such is responsible for healthy bones, teeth and muscles. A long-term vitamin D deficiency can lead to serious health issues like bone deformities.

According to scientists, an estimated 50% of the world population suffer from vitamin D deficiency. And because around this time of year it’s even harder to maintain healthy vitamin D levels because of the lack of sunlight, it’s our Vitamin of the Month – November.

The sunshine vitamin

We get our vitamin D from the sun, which is why it’s also known as the sunshine vitamin. When sunlight hits our skin, our body transforms the sun’s UVB rays into vitamin D. It can also be naturally found in oily fish such as mackerel and in red meat, liver and egg yolks. During spring and summer, we should be able to get enough vitamin D naturally when we’re outside. However, in the darker autumn and winter months this proves to be almost impossible. That’s why even the NHS advises to take a vitamin D supplement during the darker months of the year.

Things to look out for

Of course, sunbathing during the warmer months comes with its own risks, including sun burn and skin lesions. Read here what to look out for when sunbathing. If you have dark skin, for instance if you’re from an African, African-Caribbean or South Asian background, you might not even get enough vitamin D from sunlight in the warmer months. This is because the high amount of melanin pigment in the skin acts as a natural UVB sun cream, reducing your body’s ability to produce vitamin D.

Common signs of vitamin D deficiency

Not all signs of vitamin D deficiency are as dramatic as serious bone deformities. General symptoms include:

  • Tiredness and general fatigue
  • Your muscles ache without obvious reason
  • A weak immune system, leading to frequent infections (e.g. a persistent cold)
  • Your joints or bones are hurting

Vitamin D Supplements

As said, it is recommended to take a vitamin D supplement in the darker months from October-March, as you’re likely to see enough of the sun in the remaining months to maintain your own vitamin D levels without a problem. However, if you’re hardly ever outdoors or wear clothes that cover up most of your skin, it is recommended to take a supplement all year round. We stock a wide range of vitamin D supplements, including specialist chewable ones for kids and liquids for infants. Our own brand, Bioconcepts, has a vitamin D product in two different strengths which offer great value for money. We’re confident that there’s a suitable vitamin D product for you out there, so what are you waiting for?