Vitamin D is a chemical that helps our bodies to absorb nutrients like calcium and phosphates. Basically, it’s important for strengthening our bones, teeth and immune systems.
Vitamin D is unusual because we make it in our skin rather than eating it in food. The best way for our bodies to produce vitamin D is by exposing our skin to sunlight – specifically ultraviolet (UV) light. Only when the UV index is greater than 3 are the right wavelengths for producing vitamin D present. Wait, what?
In plain English, the right light is found every day in the tropics, most days in the spring and the whole of the summer in temperate areas, and hardly ever in the arctic.
Variables such as cloud cover and sunscreen lessen the amount of vitamin D produced by the body. But this doesn’t mean getting sunburnt is good for you, quite the opposite (but that’s another story). You don’t need to get a tan to take in enough vitamin D, even just a few minutes out in the sun at midday in the summer is enough.
Vitamin D deficiency is very common. A lot more common than we realise, especially for people who don’t live close to the equator. The danger of deficiency is greatest for children who can suffer from weak bones which delay their growth. This disease is otherwise known as rickets. The elderly are also at risk of bone weakness called Osteomalacia, increasing their risk of fractures and falls.
Our advice is to get out for a run or walk in the sun as often as possible. If you’re worried, you can also supplement with vitamin D capsules, even if you think you’re getting enough exposure to the sun. It is very rare to have too much vitamin D. If in doubt, this is a supplement worth taking.
If you have any questions, drop us a comment and we’ll get back to you asap.
(Vitamin D supplements are available here at MyProtein)