you, me & vitamin d
As the darker evenings draw in, and daylight hours dwindle, we naturally produce less of the hugely celebrated “sunshine vitamin”, aka Vitamin D. This is because Your body only produces it naturally when it’s directly exposed to sunlight.
But why is this an issue? Well, Vitamin D has a plethora of important benefits. Perhaps the most vital function it services is to regulate the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, and thus ensuring our immune system remains strong. Especially important throughout the Winter period; a prime time for bugs & germs to be spread from person to person.
In addition, Vitamin D is important for the normal growth and development of bones and teeth, regulating mood and helps reduce your likelihood of getting the flu.
But how about your skin? We know that Vitamin D helps with the normal functioning of various organs within our body, but it’s easy to forget that the skin is actually our largest organ! Furthermore, the look and feel of our skin is more closely linked to our overall health than many of us realise.
But, given the well-known risk of sun exposure and skin cancer, how do we safely get our Vitamin D fix from sunlight? Firstly, all skin and health experts agree that sunscreen should be worn on any skin exposed to the sun, regardless of the weather or season. They stress that even with the protection of sunscreen, our skin can still produce an adequate level of Vitamin D.
Of course, nobody advocates sitting out in the sun for long periods of time. Sunburn and premature aging of the skin are not the desired outcome, so health professionals suggest that a diet rich in Vitamin D is a great place to start. Think; fish, free range eggs, plant & cow’s milk, mushrooms and full fat yoghurt.
If you’re struggling to get enough vitamin D through your diet, research shows that supplements can really help various skin conditions, such as psoriasis, eczema, and even acne. Ichthyosis, for example, a form of severe dry skin, has been shown to have an association with low vitamin D levels.
All in all, Vitamin D plays a vital role in our overall health and wellbeing, and it’s especially important to ensure we are getting enough of it during the Winter months. Through a combination of getting out into the fresh air as much as possible and eating a Vitamin D-rich diet (or taking supplements), we can give ourselves the best chance of keeping our immune system in good working order as we approach the cold and flu season.