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Vitamin D - our 'sun vitamin' friend

Updated: Apr 29, 2022

Why is Vitamin D so important?

Vitamin D is one of the most crucial vitamins our bodies need, due to it's role in calcium absorption, immune function and protecting bone, muscle and heart health. We get vitamin D from a variety of sources. Our bodies make it as a hormone, we gain it in our diet from foods such as cod liver oil, salmon, sardines, sword and tuna fish, fortified orange juices, cereals and egg yolks, as well as fortified dairy and plant milks. Vitamin supplements are also commonly taken to increase the levels of Vitamin D in our bodies, although care must be taken to avoid taking too much which could lead to toxicity, signs and symptoms of which include those of anorexia, weight loss, irregular heart beat and hardening of the blood vessels. Another source of Vitamin D is UV light, which is synthesised into vitamin D by our bodies from the skin, although correct use of sunscreen, limited time outdoors, full covering clothing, darker skin types, ageing and where you live will have a negative impact upon the amount of Vitamin D synthesised by the skin.

Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D deficiency may occur from a lack in the diet, poor absorption, or having a metabolic need for higher amounts. Not eating enough vitamin D or not receiving enough ultraviolet sun exposure over an extended period, could cause a deficiency to arise. People who cannot tolerate or do not eat milk, eggs, and fish, such as those with a lactose intolerance or who follow a vegan diet, are at higher risk for a deficiency. Individuals with IBS, Chrons, who are obese or who have undergone some form of gastric bypass surgery are more at risk of becoming deficient. Signs of deficiency are rickets and Osteomalacia (a condition in adults of weak and softened bones that can be reversed with supplements).

Vitamin D and skin care

As we age, the capacity of our skin to produce Vitamin D decreases, as does our systemic levels. Our skin is a big source of Vitamin D, with healthy levels of this essential vitamin demonstrated as being able to prevent skin ageing. Vitamin D is also a therapeutic option for many skin concerns due to it's healing capacity. Vitamin D in skincare products help to reinforce the skin barrier, neutralise the effects of free radical damage, reduce inflammation and minimise the symptoms of acne, due to its microbial properties.

Therefore, due to the need to protect our skin from the harmful UV rays that cause premature ageing and cancers by using an SPF which, in turn, reduces the amount of Vitamin D our skin synthesises, it is prudent to look for skincare products that have vitamin D in them to help boost your levels and protect and nourish your skin.

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