Why everyone needs a dose of the sunshine Vitamin D
Lowering levels of Vit D has lead to a campaign for more of the vitamin to become available in the UK. But you can also walk your way to vitamin D good health. A medical expert is calling for more vitamin D in Britain. Obviously, it isn’t going to be too easy to order in more sunshine (one of the main sources of Vit D) but Professor Mitch Blair reckons that more foods need to be fortified with Vit D for the improved health of the nation. He also wants Vit D supplements to be available at lower prices. But why is he so keen for us to have more Vit D? This vitamin is an essential nutrient that contributes to healthy, strong bones and helps to control the amount of calcium in the blood.
Vit D is also a vital nutrient for boosting our feel-good hormones and combating depression or SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), which blights many people’s lives during the winter when daylight is scarce. But, it seems, that getting your recommended daily amount of vitamin D is not that easy. Short days, long nights and limited sunlight in the northern hemisphere restricts our access to sunshine. And while Vitamin D can be found in some foods such as oily fish, eggs and mushrooms, this only contributes 10% of a person's recommended daily amount. While no one really knows the extent of vitamin D deficiency in the UK population, it is linked to a number of increasing ailments, such as diabetes, tuberculosis, multiple sclerosis and rickets, a bone disease associated with poor children in Victorian England.
In fact, it has been found that there has been a four-fold increase in admissions to hospital with rickets in the last 15 years. So Professor Mitch Blair wants Vitamin D supplements to become more widely available at low-cost. He also wants the government to look at fortifying more foods with vitamin D.
Another way to boost Vit D is to go for a walk
Vitamin D is also the “sunshine vitamin” because a great source of the vitamin is sunshine and daylight. However, in winter in the northern hemisphere our daily does of winter daylight can be very limited. Many people go to work or school in darkness in the morning and return home in darkness in the evening. Research at Glasgow Medical School confirms that “too little sun is bad for our health” and recommends spending at least half an hour outdoors in winter each day. You don’t have to go far, and a brisk walk at lunchtime or during a coffee break could be just what the doctors ordered.
At weekends, take advantage of any brighter days to head out for a longer walk, whether in town or the countryside. And with the festive holidays upon us, you can look forward to even more chances to go outdoors and enjoy a winter walk. We don't need the excuse to head to the hills, do you?