There is no denying that Vitamin D is a very important nutrient within our bodies, it supports our immune and bone health, improves our cognitive ability and possesses antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Vitamin D also plays an essential role in regulating the body’s levels of calcium. It does this by facilitating the intestinal absorption of calcium so that the dietary calcium we consume can be utilised properly. It is for this reason that you may notice dietary calcium supplements sometimes include a form of vitamin D.
Together, vitamin D and calcium protect and strengthen our bones so ensuring adequate intake of both is essential for overall health and wellbeing.
Most of our Vitamin D is produced in the body when our skin is exposed to sunlight which produces the hormone calcitriol - the active form of vitamin D that our body uses. The rate of sun exposure needed to receive adequate levels of vitamin D varies between skin tones as darker skin tones are more susceptible to vitamin D deficiency. Most people can generally receive adequate levels of Vitamin D from 5-10 minutes of sun exposure per day.
If sun exposure is inadequate, the best food sources of vitamin D include fatty fish, eggs, beef liver and fortified dairy products or cereals. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble nutrient therefore, if you are considering supplementation it’s best absorbed with a meal that contains some fat.
Supplements can only be of assistance if dietary intake is inadequate. It is important to seek advice from a qualified health practitioner before taking any supplements.