The Sunshine Vitamin

 

Commonly known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’ because of its ability to be absorbed by the body through sunlight, vitamin D plays a vital role in keeping the body healthy. Its most important role is to help bone growth by promoting calcium absorption, but the vitamin has a whole host of other benefits too – including supporting the immune system and fighting inflammation.

Read on to learn more about the health benefits of vitamin D.

Strengthens bones

As its main role, we should probably start with vitamin D’s benefits on bone health. The vitamin allows absorption of calcium in the gut, which promotes normal mineralisation of bones. So without vitamin D, calcium would not be able to do its job properly and bones could become brittle and thin.

Supports the immune system

In current times it is more important than ever to keep our immune systems strong and healthy. Although many of us look to other vitamins for an immune boost – such as vitamin C – recent studies have found that vitamin D has positive effects on the immune system.

Various studies have associated lower levels of vitamin D with an increase in infections. For example, one study found people with decreased levels of the vitamin were more likely to suffer from upper respiratory tract infection than those with sufficient levels, whilst another study showed that vitamin D administration to school children resulted in a significant decrease in influenza infection.

Sources of vitamin D

Various foods contain some vitamin D, such as oily fish, red meat and liver, however it is not enough to get the necessary amount suggested by Public Health England (approximately 3000IU per day). As the ‘sunshine vitamin’, during summer months it is possible to get the adequate amount through sensible sunlight exposure, however in winter months (September to April) sunlight cannot provide enough vitamin D alone and its suggested that a significant proportion of the suggested dose will need to be supplemented.

 

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