What is Vitamin D and why do we need it?

Vitamin D was discovered in 1922 by American biochemist Elmer McCollum, who was nicknamed Dr Vitamin by Time Magazine.

A sufficient quantity of vitamin D in adults will protect against osteoporosis and the deterioration of bone tissue. It also plays an important part in preventing breast cancer and colon cancer. Vitamin D deficiency increases the risk of hypertension and cardiovascular diseases. According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, over 1 billion people worldwide are vitamin D deficient. In May 2020, an American study suggested that vitamin D deficiency could increase the risks of complications associated with Covid-19.

So how do we get it?

Vitamin D comes from 2 sources. 20% comes from food, especially products of animal origin and those containing fats.

The other portion is synthesised by your body at skin level, under the effect of ultraviolet light, and then stored in the muscles, fats and adipose tissue to be used in winter. That means our body is capable of producing it, but for that it needs to be exposed to the sun! Of course staying in the sun for too long is dangerous and will do you more harm than good. Around 10 minutes in the sun with your arms and legs exposed will do you a world of good, and remember that suncream will protect your skin from skin cancer, but it won’t stop you producing Vitamin D, so lather up!

Kat Myles, personal trainer

Pre and post-natal and senior fitness lessons, in person or over video call. I’m based in Merida, Mexico.

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