In Part 1 of my blog on Vitamin D, I explained that there aren't many great dietary sources of vitamin D and it's really difficult to get all you need from food. In part 2 I'm laying down how to guarantee you get enough D and clearing up why it's so important that you get the right amount.
(Neither Aubergines nor Emojis are a good source of Vitamin D - Photo Credit)
So why do I need the D?
If you Google 'Vitamin D benefits' - you get a butt load of listicles claiming that Vitamin D can do everything from prevent flu and cancer to helping you lose an ass ton of weight because, the internet.
Reality is, the only thing we can say FOR SURE is that vitamin D helps us absorb calcium, regulates metabolism of both calcium and phosphorus, and helps make our bones strong AF. People who are good at getting' the D tend to have better musculoskeletal health.
"Oh man, BONE HEALTH??"
I know, right? SNOOZE
BUT SRSLY YOU GUYS. It may not be as cool as 'detoxing' or as fearmongery as cancer, but this shit is super important.
People who get the D have better muscle strength and function, and in the over 50s, higher blood vitamin D concentration is associated with lower fracture risk.
Over 300,000 people are hospitalised in the UK each year because of fragility fractures. Yeah. BRITTLE ASS BONES. Ain't nobody got time for that. Hip fractures nearly always requires hospitalisation, are fatal in 20% of cases and permanently disables 50% of those affected; only 30% of patients fully recover. NOT COOL.
Also there's probably a boning joke in here somewhere?
WAIT, I thought getting the D was supposed to make me happier?
But tbh there is some pretty good evidence that low levels of vitamin D are related to depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder in the winter and that supplementation might reduce symptoms. Problem is that the evidence isn't super clear on this yet, so SACN can't make any specific recommendations. It does seem that getting some extra D could jazz up your day; just make sure you don't overdo it - more on this in a hot sec.
So are there really no other benefits of getting the D?
Again, it's not to say that vitamin D definitely doesn't play an important role in protecting against things like type 2 diabetes, some cancers, CVD, asthma and the like, it's just that the evidence for these associations is much weaker than it is for musculoskeletal health, so, it's like a lowkey yes. Prolly there are some bennies; we just need to let science do its thing and swh. As of this year, Public Health England recommends that we ALL take a vitamin D supplement to protect our bones, so if there are additional benefits then cool, and if not, no biggie, at least your bones are good.
So how do I get the D?
In the autumn and winter, PHE say "consider taking a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D". In the spring and summer, make sure you stay safe while getting the D - and if you're completely wrapping it up then you might still need to supplement. Before I get accused of being 'big pharma' or whatever - I generally don't advocate for supplementation - advising we try to get all the nutrients we need from food instead. I explained this recently on my podcast - the only exceptions being B12 (for strict vegans) and turmeric (because it's superfuckingcool). For those of you looking for a good quality supplement - I personally take Veridian D3 - but whatever you take - just make sure it specifies it's 10µg (400IU) of Vitamin D3. Also, if you're a pregnant lady or have kids under 4 - you might be able to get these for free on the NHS.
Is there such a thing as getting too much D?
Too much D is a bad thing - it can actually lead to bone DE-mineralisation (the opposite of what you want), and increased risk of cancer, and irreversible damage to the kidneys and heart.
So long as you're not taking more than 100µg/ day (4000 IU), you're good. Just be careful if you're already taking a multivitamin that you don't go over 100µg/ day of vitamin D.