Nutrition Advent Calendar - Day 18⠀

Vitamin D - The Sunshine Vitamin⠀


If you're unaware of the important roles that vitamin D plays in the body, hopefully this will give you an insight into how and why you should avoid vitamin D deficiency. ⠀

 Vitamin D is a pro-hormone that is primarily obtained from direct sunlight exposure to the skin (vitamin D3). It can also be obtained through certain foods (oily fish, mushrooms, fortified dairy & cereals) but this alone cannot satisfy the body's requirements (vitamin D2). ⠀

 During winter months we are deprived of sunshine, meaning people are likely to be deficient in vitamin D. Therefore the best way to maintain vitamin D levels is through supplementation. A safe and effective dosage is 1,000-4,000IU per day (upper limit for athletes and individuals with severe deficiency). ⠀

I recommend that you get your vitamin D levels checked first before taking a supplement to determine what dosage is best for you. You should be able to get this done at your GP. ⠀

Vitamin D is important for:⠀
 Promotes calcium homeostasis for bone health⠀
 Muscle function & strength⠀
 Immune function⠀
 Weight management/fat loss⠀
 Glucose & insulin sensitivity ⠀

Vitamin D deficiency is linked to an increased risk of:⠀
 Poor bone health⠀
 Muscle wasting⠀
 Diabetes⠀
 Weight gain⠀
 Cancer⠀
 Rheumatoid arthritis⠀
 Multiple sclerosis ⠀
 Illness, injury & falls⠀

Who is most susceptible to vitamin D deficiency?⠀
 Elderly ⠀
 Darker skinned individuals⠀
 Indoor sport athletes⠀
 Office/indoor based job workers⠀

Take home messages:⠀
If you're susceptible to vitamin D deficiency, get tested and supplement over winter months. 4,000IU is the recommended upper limit vitamin D3 dosage for athletes and should be batch tested (Informed-Sport certified). 

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