Getting your daily dose of Vitamin D this Winter
Seasonal Affective Disorder is now estimated to have been diagnosed in over 4 million people in the UK alone. Sunlight is essential for our body to manufacture vitamin D but this gets difficult when the hours of sunlight lessens in the winter months.
According to a national survey in the UK, 1 in 5 of us suffer from low vitamin D levels, posing a risk to our bone and muscle health. We know that vitamin D helps us to absorb dietary calcium. In severe cases of deficiency, reduced calcium absorption can lead to slower growth and a weakened bone structure, increasing the risk of skeletal deformities including fractures and osteoporosis.
How do we know if we are deficient in the first place?
Symptoms include Feeling low, unexplained tiredness and increased bouts of illness due to a threatened immune system.
The only sure-fire way of knowing whether you are deficient in vitamin D is via a blood test. However, most people instinctively know that they have not been getting enough sunshine and link this to be the cause of their symptoms.
You can get your vitamin D through diet
The richest source of vitamin D found in fatty fish such as mackerel and salmon with other sources including egg yolks and cheese. It is therefore far more difficult for Vegans to obtain enough vitamin D through a plant based diet. A great tip we have is to lay mushrooms out on a windowsill for 1-2hrs between 10am and 3pm to significantly increase their vitamin D. Try using shiitake for the greatest benefit.
At the end of the day, the best way to absorb vitamin D is sunshine, so a midday walk can be more beneficial than you think.