The sun vitamin, Vitamin D, is a unique nutrient because we get most of it from the sun rather than food. But how do we get enough without subjecting our bodies to sun damage?
Classically, vitamin D is associated with bone health, which is definitely one of the major functions of the vitamin in our body. However, more recent evidence has suggested that vitamin D also plays a role in the prevention of many common diseases such as cancer, obesity, and immune disorders.
Vitamin D is extremely important for children to improve calcium absorption and promote healthy bone formation. But it is equally important in adults to maintain these healthy bones and prevent common bone diseases such as osteoporosis.
Aside from healthy bones, vitamin D has been shown to suppress inflammation within our bodies. Which is why optimal vitamin D status is important to decrease risk of diabetes, cancer, and other autoimmune diseases.
Sources and Requirements
For a country with so much sun year round, it is shocking that 60% of Egyptians are not getting enough levels of vitamin D. Casual exposure to sunlight, about 10 minutes a day, is all your body needs to synthesise enough vitamin D.
Food alone isn’t enough to give you all the vitamin D your body needs, but a diet high in vitamin D can help keep your levels topped up and act as an additional source. Fish, egg yolks, and beef liver are the richest sources of the vitamin. Always choose wild fish instead of farmed fish, as wild fish can contain up to 70% more vitamin D than farmed varieties.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women are encouraged to take a vitamin D supplement to make sure they have enough vitamin D themselves, and are passing on the vitamin D to their children too.