The truth about Vitamin D

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By The Gut Health Doctor Team

Dr Megan Rossi in a lab looking through a microscope

Reality check: it’s no magic bullet so beware of hyped up claims – but it IS super important for our immune system!


The ‘sunshine vitamin’ is essential for keeping our bones strong, but also for our mental health, linked with brain development and low levels associated with depression.


New studies suggest there could also be a link with #COVID19. In fact, in a small study of 50 COVID-19 patients in hospital, 76% were deficient in vitamin D. But it’s worth keeping in mind that vitamin D may very well just be an innocent marker of other risk factors such as ethnicity and general health.


BUT as it’s one of the most talked-about supplements… enter lots of pseudoscience.


This doesn’t mean it’s a magic fix for everything from cancer to cardiovascular (heart) disease and it’s too early in the coronavirus research to talk definites.


The bottom line: while it’s no cure or guarantee of protection against illness, it’s worth making sure you’re getting enough…


Try to get 15-30 mins of sunlight for your skin which makes vitamin D (season and country dependent of course… and taking care to avoid sunburn!)


UK Gov guidelines recommend everyone takes 10mcg / 400 IU of vitamin D daily (bubs included), throughout the winter and especially while we’re staying indoors more. Vit D is fat-soluble, so take it with meals or a source of fat, like fish oil.


This is considered too low for adults by many countries – the upper limit (i.e. safety level) is 10x that for adults (lower in bubs and kids). Everyone’s different so chat to your GP or dietitian if you’re unsure.


Adding oily fish, eggs and fortified products that are higher in vit D can help boost your intake too.


My top tip: keep your mushrooms on your window sill to get as much sunlight as possible and maximise your vit D intake – their skin can make vitamin D too!


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