Vitamin D deficiency is a hot topic at the moment. The number of ailments it is linked to range from problems with incontinence (leaking when you laugh/cough/sneeze), weight gain (no you can’t eat cake each day and blame it on a vitamin deficiency!!!!), poor auto-immune function, poor bone health, poor cognitive function (‘mummy brain’), a predisposition to developing cancer, an increased risk of developing Gestational Diabetes and poor muscle function, the list goes on…
So, making sure our Vitamin D levels are good could significantly help with a range of issues we thought we just had to endure and were part of the package of being a mum!
Vitamin D is biologically inert and has to undergo two different reactions to become active in the body. The active form of vitamin D in the body is called Calcitriol. It promotes the absorption of calcium and its flow in the bloodstream. This is particularly relevant to pregnant and nursing mothers as our calcium requirements during these times are dramatically increased.
How do I make sure I’m getting enough Vitamin D and where can I find it:
Sun exposure: This accounts of 90% of our Vitamin D production so is really important. This advice may seem completely alien to many as we’ve spent years being schooled about the perils of sun exposure and its link to skin cancer. Even Cancer Research UK has acknowledged the importance of the skin’s exposure to sunlight with regards to Vitamin D!
It is recommended that you expose your face and arm to direct sunlight for a minimum of 10-20mins, a minimum of 3 times a week, in order to metabolise all the vitamin D that your body needs. In order to avoid burning, avoid the hottest parts of the day ie between 11am-3pm. For your baby/child, or if you are very fair-skinned, keep out of direct sunlight (under the shade of a tree or in the shadow of a building) with bare skin for 20-30mins.
Food: Shitake mushrooms, salmon, sardines, tuna, mackerel, herring, fish oil and eggs.
Supplements: You can take a capsule or oral spray supplements but make sure there is a minimum of 10mcg per day. (Look out for those numbers on the packaging label.)