The sun has been out to play and you if you’ve been lucky enough to be out in it you’ll probably know that you’ve been getting a Vitamin D dose. I hear so many people these days use the phrase “I’m just getting my Vitamin D”. But how do we get it and what does it really do for us?
Where do we get Vitamin D from?
There are some dietary sources of Vitamin D with oily fish such as herring, salmon and mackerel having the richest concentrations. Eggs, liver and butter have a little too.
It is however the sun’s UVB rays that are the main source of Vitamin D. When the UVB rays hit the skin a chemical reaction takes place, before the liver and kidneys get involved to convert this into the Vitamin D that is active in the body.
So, eat your oily fish and get safe UVB exposure when we are lucky enough to see the sun!
What does Vitamin D do?
Vitamin D acts more like a hormone than a true vitamin. The key function that we are all aware of is how it interacts with the minerals calcium and phosphorous to support bone health. When levels are deficient it can be associated with bone health issues such as rickets in children or osteomalacia in adults.
What many don’t know is that it is also linked with the health of:
As research progresses, the importance of Vitamin D levels to optimal health becomes increasingly obvious. It’s certainly something to be aware of.
Vitamin D and athletic performance
So, do your Vitamin D levels influence your performance in the gym, on your bike or on the track? Emerging research in this area still appears inconclusive, however given the link between bone health, muscle function and sports performance I don’t think it will be long before we start seeing a clearer evidence base in this field.
How do I know what my levels are and should I use a supplement?
Vitamin D levels can be tested through a simple blood test. Your GP may do this test for you if you are displaying symptoms of low Vitamin D status, but you can also quite cheaply get your levels tested privately and a Nutritional Therapist will be able to guide you to the right place and interpret the results.
It is always advisable to get your levels tested before deciding to supplement; it helps us know what dosage to take and for what duration. There are several high quality Vitamin D supplements out there on the market; if my client’s levels warrant supplementation I’ll use one that also has Vitamin K2 in it.
Nutritional Therapist BA (Hons), MA, Dip Nut CNM, mBANT, mNNA, CNHC