Are you getting enough Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is referred to as the sunshine vitamin, but have you got enough stored up?
As well as protecting against some cancers and osteoporosis, vitamin D can help ward off Alzheimer’s disease and multiple sclerosis and boost the immune system, too.
Although it can be obtained in small quantities by eating oily fish, eggs and liver, about 80% of what the body needs is obtained via a chemical process that happens when sunlight is absorbed by the skin.
In Europe, the Recommended Daily Amount (RDA) is between 400-800 IU (10-20mcg) per day, although many doctors now believe this is too low, particularly for people living here in Ireland who get very little sunshine, especially in the winter months.
If you have a baby under one, the Health Service Executive recommends 5mcg of vitamin D every day because it is not possible for babies to safely get the vitamin D they need from the sun.
In fact, the Chief Medical Officer in the UK, Professor Dame Sally Davies, says children from six months right up to five years-old should be given vitamin D supplements – particularly during the winter.
If you are not sure whether you are deficient, a simple blood test from your doctor can check your levels. I found out when I had some blood tests recently that I was low in vitamin D, so I will be taking a vitamin D supplement this winter to keep my levels up.
It’s well worth the effort to get checked out…