How your family can keep Vitamin D levels up this Winter

As we leave the brighter warmer summer days behind us and move closer to Winter, it’s probably a good idea to start thinking about family health. Having a three and a five-year-old who both go to school, I know too well how easy it is for them to become unwell. There’s the obvious importance of wanting your child to have a certain amount of colds to build their immunity, but there are also other natural ways in which you can help your child’s immune system develop. Vitamin D is one of them. Vitamin D has become so important in our health that even some doctors are checking blood samples for Vitamin D deficiency, and according to research 1 and 5 people have a Vit D deficiency [1]. For those who are deficient in Vitamin D, you will be prescribed a Vitamin D supplement from the doctor.

So what is Vitamin D and why is it important?
Usually, we get a majority of Vitamin D that we need from sunlight. We can also get sources of Vitamin D from food and supplements. However, when we expose our skin to sunlight, vitamin D is produced from cholesterol in the skin cells. The sun’s UV light rays hit the cholesterol in the skin and provide energy for vitamin D synthesis to occur. Vitamin D works directly with the immune system to help ward off infections, as well as promoting bone health. Naturally, our exposure to UV light during the darker months reduces the amount of Vitamin D our bodies produce, so looking for other ways to ensure your family retains good levels of the crucial vitamin can help reduce the effects of Vitamin D deficiency.

Choose a good supplement
In our family, we will all take a Vitamin D supplement from October to March. Supplements are easy to buy but it’s a good idea to follow guidelines on the recommended dose. According to the NHS website, the recommended daily amount is 10micrograms of Vitamin D daily for all children aged over 1-year-old and adults. This means anything over 1000IU is good. I usually buy the Lindens brand. I have always found them to be a good supplement supplier. You can buy them from here. With my children, I will buy them chewable Vitamin D tablets. Last year I bought the Health4All brand, and the children liked them. I have bought them again. You can buy them here.

Add Vitamin D rich foods
Adding Vitamin D rich foods to your child’s diet is another great way to help them naturally increase their Vitamin D synthesis.
Some foods that are rich in Vitamin D are:

 

Fatty fish, like tuna, mackerel, and salmon

Foods fortified with vitamin D, like some dairy products, orange juice, soy milk, and cereals

Beef liver

Cheese

Egg yolks

To get vitamin D from food, fish is a good option. Three ounces of cooked salmon has more than 450 international units (IU). [2]

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