(and an extra bonus of keeping those levels up if you are trying to get fit )
Vitamin D is a vitamin of many talents.
Vitamin D keeps us going in many ways. Along with calcium, Vitamin D helps us build and maintain healthy bones which becomes increasingly important as we get older.
As well as keeping our bones well supported, it is also vital for a healthy immune system and a key component of brain health having been shown to help symptoms of low mood and anxiety.*
Why does it have the ability to be so effective? This is because Vitamin D functions more like a hormone - that is a chemical messenger- and has the ability to impact lots of different types of cells.
Exposure to sunlight is the way we make vitamin D and ensuring we get regular exposure to sunlight is the best way to keep our vitamin levels topped up.
However, living in less than sunny Scotland, sometimes getting that burst of daily sunshine isn’t always that easy. Diet sources include oily fish, eggs, and some fortified products.
But supplementing with a vitamin D3 supplement is recommended, especially during the winter months or when you can’t get outside as much as you’d like in the sun. 400mcg daily is the standard maintenance dose for adults.
Vitamin D can also help our muscles and support strength of our muscles fibres. A review of studies looking at athletes showed strength improvement of up to 20% in healthy adults ages 18-45yrs **.
So whether you are a runner or a keen (currently indoor) gym goer, or even just starting out on trying to get a bit fitter during this challenging time, there are many reasons to make sure you are getting enough Vitamin D
Dr Clara Russell
*Issues Ment Health Nurs. 2010 Jun; 31(6): 385–393.