Until lately, vitamin D wasn’t given much idea by most of us.
Yet, in the last few years, numerous research have linked a deficiency of vitamin D, which can be symptomless and thus difficult to spot, to just about every disease from cancer and heart disease to melancholy and MS. And to make things worse, research shows that half of us have worryingly low amounts.
But it’s not only adults who are at risk. Rickets was common among children in Victorian times. Great nourishment and better healthcare meant it had almost been eradicated – but rates appear to be climbing again. Experts are blaming the fact we’ve become overly careful in the sun in our bid to avoid skin cancer for this national insufficiency because vitamin D is largely made by the action of sunlight on our skin.
This essential nutrient is needed to keep our bones and teeth strong and healthy. Vitamin D absorbs calcium from the digestion system and deposits it in our bones, protecting children against adults and rickets against the bone-thinning disorder osteoporosis.
However, the recent fascination with the vitamin is down to the purpose in fostering the immune system, it also appears to play.
Unlike most other nutrients, we don’t get the majority of this vitamin. The primary source of vitamin D is the sunlight on our skin, and also the theory has always been that our body makes plenty during the summer when it’s sunny and shops enough to last us through the wintertime that are grey.
Nonetheless, in recent times, experts have warned us to cover right up in sunlight, apply high-factor sun lotion and stay in the shade in a bid to avoid climbing cases of skin cancer.
One of many predicaments with vitamin D is that we’re not really certain how much is sufficient to maintain good health. In the UK, recommended quantities don’t even exist for most folks – although experts do indicate that pregnant and breast-feeding women and the elderly should take an additional dose of 10mcg per day in the form of a nutritional supplement.
Do kids need more?
It’s recommended that children under five get between eight and seven -and-a-half micrograms of vitamin D per day.
According to a study this season, a quarter of toddlers are lacking vitamin D and will face walking delays because of this and weakened bones.
Last month, in response, the Government’s Chief Medical Officer declared that all kids from six months to five years should take supplements containing vitamin D ward off problems like rickets and to maintain acceptable quantities of the vitamin with this critical period of development.