During the dark winter months, it's tempting to stay in bed, hiding from the cold and only venturing outside to get a festive Starbucks coffee. We've all been there. Unfortunately hibernating isn't practical. It's important to prioritise our health and wellbeing during winter, to support our immune system and reduce the impact of seasonal affective disorder. While vitamins are an important part of a healthy routine all year long, there’s one vitamin we really need to top up on during the winter season. Vitamin D.
What is vitamin D?
Vitamin D is important for regulating the levels of calcium and phosphate, which helps to maintain healthy bones, teeth and muscles. It is also proven to boost the immune system, helping us fight off colds!
Are you getting enough vitamin D?
Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin because our body creates it from direct sunlight. Fish, egg yolks, red meat and fortified foods, such as breakfast cereal, are also great sources of vitamin D.
Despite its importance, vitamin D deficiency is very common, with almost half of us lacking this essential vitamin, thanks to the gloomy British weather. That’s why we suggest supplementing our intake!
During the summer, we can get all the vitamin D we need from the sun. However, as the COVID-19 pandemic has forced people indoors, we have had less exposure to sunlight. Public Health England recommend taking 10 micrograms of vitamin D every day to make up for this.
Can vitamin D reduce the impact of COVID-19?
Research into the link between vitamin D and COVID-19 is ongoing, and there is currently no evidence that taking vitamin D supplements can cure or treat the virus. However, early studies indicate that vitamin D reduces the severity of COVID-19 symptoms. A recent study in Spain found that 82% out of 216 hospitalised coronavirus patients had a vitamin D deficiency!
Based on early findings, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has decided to supply four months of vitamin D to care home residents and clinically extremely vulnerable people in England. This amazing initiative ensures over 2 million vulnerable people will receive much-needed vitamin D supplements during winter, including chemotherapy patients and people with severe asthma.
While the research into vitamin D and COVID-19 is inconclusive, vitamin D is scientifically proven to boost the immune system, and a strong immune system is vital for staying healthy.
We think adding vitamin D to your daily routine is a great way to boost the immune system and one of the easiest ways to prioritise our health. With the days becoming darker as winter approaches, and we enter a second lockdown period, it’s important that we make sure we’re all getting enough vitamin D, whether it’s through our diet or by taking supplements.