What do we know about Vitamin D?

 03 Feb 2021

Irish medical experts advising to please take vitamin D

With Vitamin D being in the media, what do we know about it?

Vitamin D is actually a hormone. We acquire vitamin D mainly from summer sunlight exposure, but also from food and supplements. It's well established that some groups are more likely to be deficient: older people; those with darker pigmentation because their skin makes vitamin D less efficient in response to sunlight, and those with obesity because vitamin D gets locked away within their body fat.

Vitamin D is also found in a small number of foods. Good food sources are:

  1. oily fish, such as salmon and sardines
  2. eggs
  3. fortified fat spreads
  4. fortified breakfast cereals
  5. powdered milk

Vitamin D has several important functions. For example, it helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body. These substances are needed to keep bones and teeth healthy. Benefits of Vitamin D include:

  1. Improves bone health
  2. Boost immunity
  3. Helps prevent autoimmune diseases
  4. Fights infections
  5. Improves muscle strength

This week there's been a lot of media coverage on Vitamin D with an urgent message from a group of Irish medical experts advising to please take vitamin D to help protect against Covid-19 while the vaccine is being rolled out.

"Unfortunately, vitamin D is lacking in the Irish population across all age groups and so experts including Prof Declan Byrne, clinical director at St James' Hospital and Prof Rose Anne Kenny, principal investigator of TILDA, are urging the Department of Health to increase its current vitamin D guidelines to the general adult population for a daily intake of 20-25 micrograms to build protection against the virus." - this is an extract from the breakingnews.ie article last week. You can read the full article here

You should ask your GP for more information if you are curious about whether to take a supplement or trying to incorporate more foods containing the vitamin into your meals.