Now that summer seems to have finally arrived we have the chance to get some of our much needed vitamin D.
Why is vitamin D so important?
This vitamin is actually a hormone, made naturally by the body in response to sunlight from fat under the skin. Unfortunately our fear of skin cancer caused by sun damage has grown so much that we are tending to stay in the shade and cover our children with really high factor sun cream.
Perversely vitamin D is essential for our immune system and deficiency in vitamin D increases our risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer! Vitamin D is also needed for us to absorb calcium so is important for healthy bones particularly in children and the elderly.
The sun only produces the right ultraviolet light for us to make vitamin D in the summer and by the end of winter a significant amount of the population will be deficient. According to the National Diet and Nutrition Survey:
• 90% of the general population have below optimal levels
• 75% of young adults, the elderly and British Asian children are classed as deficient
• 5-20% of the general population are classed as severely deficient
To top up your vitamin D levels safely expose as much of yourself as is decent to the sun for 15 minutes each day. Do not let yourself burn! Then cover up or slap on some sun cream and enjoy your day.