What’s the go with Vitamin D?

August 26, 2010 BY: LISA

About Vitamin D

 The incidence of vitamin D deficiency is increasing in the Australian population and is thought to be as high as 25% of women and even higher percentages in dark skinned and veiled women. Another high risk population are those older people in residential care.

The best way to get in vitamin D is through sun exposure, so if you don’t get enough sun, you don’t make enough vitamin D. The problem with not enough vitamin D is that your bones will suffer – Vitamin D is very closely linked with calcium levels both in the body and in the bone.

How much sun exposure do I need?

The Cancer Council suggest that in the Summer months you need 7-8 minutes exposure on your face, hands and arms, without sunscreen, per day avoiding the hottest times of the day. Over winter aim for 2-3 hours per week in the southern states of Australia.  Dark skinned people require more exposure to produce adequate levels of vitamin D. The UV rays which cause skin cancer are the same rays which produce vitamin D in our body. Sunscreens clearly interfere with the production of vitamin D; however it is also important to prevent skin cancer- it’s all about balance and avoiding the sun and using sunscreen in the hotter parts of the day, particularly in summer.

What about food?

There is some vitamin D in foods such as fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, and herring) also meat, eggs and fortified foods such as margarine.  The major dietary sources are those from fortified foods such as margarine. However, increasing the fortification of foods with vitamin D is not the answer for high risk groups but it may assist those at lower risk.

Do I need a vitamin D supplement?

Vitamin D can build up to toxic levels in the body and cause problems as much as a deficiency can. The best advice is to see your GP and get your vitamin D levels tested, if they are low and you don’t feel that you can increase your sun exposure then discuss with your GP or pharmacist about appropriate supplements.

Information sheet prepared by Lisa Renn, Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD)

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Comments

  1. Vitamin D helps prevent osteoporosis, an unpleasant disease caused by the thinning of bones. It is almost always considered that calcium deficiency is responsible for weakening of bones resulting in fractures and mobility problems but research has revealed that together with calcium, deficiency of Vitamin D is every bit accountable for unhealthy bones.


    vitamin d deficiency
    December 7th, 2010
  2. On the topic of Vitamin D, the importance of vitamin D in the development of cancer was further confirmed by a Sylvia Chistakos, Ph.D., of the UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School. Her research, published in The Journal of Biological Chemistry, showed that the active form of vitamin D induces the production of a protein that can stop the growth of breast cancer cells.


    vitamin d3
    December 25th, 2010


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