Vitamin D Tablets: Do You Need Them During Winter?
Vitamin D Tablets: Do You Need Them During Winter?
During winter, we tend to hear lots about vitamin D. Since the sunlight is our primary source of the nutrient, this makes sense – and many compensate for the seasonal gloom by consuming a vitamin D tablet. But is this essential for everybody? Read on to find out.
How to Get More Winter Vitamin D: Eat Free-Range Eggs
Before we venture into supplement territory, let's discuss how you might obtain more vitamin D from dietary sources.
Free-range eggs have never been more popular. In fact, they now account for 48% of the total egg market (for year to September 2016). Switching to free-range eggs might be motivated by ethical considerations, but it turns out that happy eggs are also far healthier, containing less fat and cholesterol, higher amounts of omega-3s and more vitamin A, E – and now D.
In a new study by the University of Reading, free-range eggs were shown to contain up to 30% more vitamin D than those from factory farms. Eggs from organic farms also had higher levels of calcifediol, known for helping the body absorb calcium. 270 eggs sold by UK supermarkets were analysed in the study, which determined that organic free-range eggs were the best for vitamin D, containing 2.2 micrograms compared with 1.7 mcg for typical barn eggs.
Findings were published in the Food Chemistry journal, which cited exposure to sunlight as the main reason for the discrepancy. “Unlike the conventional indoor egg production system, free range and organic birds have more opportunity to be exposed to sunlight as they can access pasture continuously during the day. “It is probable that the main reason for greater concentrations of vitamin D3 and calcifediol in eggs from free range and/or organic systems is higher sun exposure of the laying birds.”
Vitamin D Food Sources
When asked how you like your eggs in the morning, perhaps your answer from now on should be “organic and free range, please!” At least during the winter months, when most of us struggle to get enough vitamin D.
Incidentally, the recommended daily allowance for an adult in the UK is 10 mcg – although many believe a much higher dose is required. Vitamin D deficiency is hardly a trifling matter: it’s been linked to obesity and osteomalacia, among other things. It can also cause rickets in children.
Of course, free-range eggs aren’t the only foods you should consider to up your intake of vitamin D. Red meat and oily fish are also good sources, as are certain fortified breakfast cereals like All Bran.
There aren’t nearly as many food sources of vitamin D as there are for, say, vitamin C though. Which is unfortunate considering how useful it is to our bones, muscles, teeth and cells. Vitamin D is also one of the top vitamins for boosting the immune system, which is crucial for fighting off seasonal illnesses.
If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, you could well struggle to hit your daily vitamin D quota, unless you’re in the habit of starting every day with a five-egg omelette! Even if you’re a carnivore, it can be tricky to get enough without the aid of a vitamin D supplement.
A Therapeutic Option for Eczema?
The free-range egg study came to light last week, at around the same time research by the Konkuk University in Seoul, South Korea, showed a correlation between vitamin D deficiency and atopic dermatitis, the most common form of eczema.
The Korean researchers also conducted four randomised controlled trials on vitamin D supplementation as a treatment for sufferers, and asserted that it could represent a new therapeutic option for the condition.
Whether the Korean study is relevant to you or not, you could greatly benefit from incorporating a vitamin D supplement into your day-to-day diet. A good choice is Planet Source Vitamin D3 5000iu Drops, a liquid form of Vitamin D3 bound in natural oils for easy absorption into the body.
You might be wondering why that’s higher then the UK recommended daily allowance, but there’s plenty of research out there advocating that adults should consume 2,000-5,000 IU per day, with one study showing that 5,000 is better for treating mild to moderate vitamin D deficiency.
The Vitamin D Council believes 10,000 IU per day should be the upper limit, although the figure varies depending on age and body weight. It’s worth bearing in mind that the body can naturally produce between 10,000 and 25,000 IUs of vitamin D after a little full-body sun exposure.
Don't Put Up with Vitamin D Deficiency
The encroaching darkness that’s synonymous with winter can have all kinds of effects, both to body and mind, but vitamin D deficiency needn’t be something you soldier on with. Whether by relying on diet or a vitamin D supplement, you can ensure the time of year doesn’t affect your consumption of this vital vitamin.
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