Vitamin D – are you getting enough?

Have you been on a nice summer holiday abroad this year? Taken lots of walks with your skin exposed to the sunshine? Do you eat salmon, trout and eggs regularly? If you answered yes to all of these questions then you might have good levels of Vitamin D. Sadly many of us don’t get enough Vitamin D in our diet and therefore sun exposure and supplements are important to many of us.

Vitamin D deficiency is linked to heart disease, osteoporosis and breast cancer. To get more vitamin D in your diet look for margarines and breakfast cereals that are fortified with vitamin D. Don’t rush out in the sunshine and burn your skin, melanoma is a potentially deadly form of skin cancer, getting sunburnt increases your risk of getting melanoma. In theUK, 15 minutes a day in the sun with your face and arms exposed between April to September is enough.

There are some people who are more at risk of Vitamin D deficiency than others; those over 65, children from six months to five years old, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, people with dark skin and anyone who rarely gets outside should all consider taking a supplement.

Large doses of Vitamin D can be toxic, for most people who are at risk of deficiency a dose of 1000 units (25mcg) per day should be safe. For infants and children the recommended dose is 400 units (10mcg).

So, next time you write your shopping list, add some oily fish, Vitamin D fortified margarine, cereals and eggs…what a good excuse to get baking with the children, well, after all, it’s a good excuse to eat cake using eggs and margarine isn’t it?!