Vitamin D (Cholecalciferol and Ergocalciferol)
From October to end of March in the northern hemisphere, in Scotland in particular, the sun’s rays (ultra violet) are of insufficient frequency to allow humans to produce Vitamin D in their skin. So during our winter, if we have had very little exposure to the sun in our summer, if it’s been a typical Scottish summer…not like our glorious 2014 Friendly Games summer then we will not have been able to store enough vitamin D to last over the long winter.
It’s probably fair to assume that most, pale, peely -wally Scots (spray tans don’t count) are Vitamin D deficient. Clinical long-term deficiency increases cancer risk and likely-hood of osteoporosis. Vitamin D is a unique vitamin that performs like a steroid so it is important for immune function and bone integrity. Without it we cannot efficiently make new bone material. Together with calcium and other minerals and vitamin C this vitamin supports our skeleton.
So what do we do?
Ensure that during the summer months we are exposed to some sunlight most days whilst being sensible about sunburn risk. Remember that sunscreen will reduce your body’s ability to absorb the sun’s rays. If you have elderly family members, get them out for an airing, don’t let them stay cooped up in their homes.
If all else fails, or in mid winter take a supplement of fish liver oil capsules (check that they contain vitamin D and its not been filtered out). The darker your skin the more your requirement for vitamin D. More is required during pregnancy. Elderly who are housebound are at risk of deficiency
Eat more oily fish, cereals and bread that are supplemented with vitamin D and other vitamins and minerals, check the spread that you use has vitamin D added. Exercise (Weight Bearing) is also important to increase bone density and push calcium into the bones.
Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin that means it is stored for use at a later date, therefore it is also possible to store too much and it then results in a toxic state where you deposit calcium into soft tissue…not good.