Whether acquired through sunshine, supplements or food – or, better yet, a mix of all three – not enough can be said about the benefits of having a sufficient intake of Vitamin D, according to an anatomy and physiology doctorate.
Speaking to Wellness Daily, National Vitamin D Awareness Day Health Expert and Chair of Exercise and Ageing within the Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition at Deakin University, Professor Robin Daly said around one in three Australians aged between 25 and 44 have been diagnosed with a deficiency of Vitamin D, which becomes more concerning when one considers that more than a quarter of millennials claim they have “more important health issues to consider”.
“This is concerning because without enough Vitamin D, bones can become brittle, thin or malformed and can lead to fractures, chronic pain and osteoporosis,” he said.
“It’s time we take Vitamin D seriously and take a more proactive approach to bone health during our younger years to prevent problems later in life.”
It’s also worth considering updating our health routines during the colder winter months, he advised, because many of us don’t get enough sunlight during that period.
“The sun’s rays help the body make Vitamin D that supports healthy bones and muscle function,” he explained.
“If you reside in parts of Australia that don’t receive as much sunlight during the winter months, then think about exploring other ways to boost your Vitamin D level.”
There are a number of factors that help determine how much sun we need each day, he mused, and it can also vary from person to person. Considerations include where one lives, skin tone, individual circumstances, clothing while outside.
Professor Daly suggested the following:
Go to the fish market:
“Mackerel, salmon, herring and trout are reliable sources of Vitamin D as their bodies contain a generous amount of healthy fat,” he said.
Consider taking supplements:
“For some, obtaining enough Vitamin D through sun and dietary changes alone is not enough…taking a supplement is a convenient way to top up your daily dose,” he noted.
“Consider speaking to a health care professional about the best form of supplementation for your health status and the health of your children.”
Take a break from the winter cold:
“Needing a boost of Vitamin D in the cooler months is a great excuse to take a break up north! Take a trip to sun-rich portions of Australia, such as the northern parts of Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory,” he suggested.
“These areas of the country receive, on average, 10 hours of sunshine a day during July, compared to the four hours in Melbourne. For fair-skinned people, you only need 7-10 minutes with your arms or a similar area exposed to get your daily dose of Vitamin D. People with darker skin require at least three times this amount.”