Ah, Vitamin D – not a fat-soluble vitamin that we see a lot of this time of year on our Emerald Isles, is it?
1 in 8 Irish people is deficient in vitamin D, possibly due to a) our lack of exposure to sunlight in the Winter months and b) a lack of awareness surrounding how else to get vitamin D into us.
The skin & vitamin D: sunlight as a source
Let us get nerdie for a moment – vitamin D is produced (synthesised) naturally within the body when our skin is exposed to UVB rays. It’s theorised that you actually only need to expose an area the size of a 2 euro coin to the sun for a short amount of time to allow your body to synthesise enough vitamin D, so vitamin D is no excuse to sunbathe all day!
Around this time of year, there is a distinct lack of sunlight for us to be exposed to. If you are a 9-to-5 human, you are going into the office when it’s dark and coming out when it’s dark.
This means that we need to find our vitamin D elsewhere!
Vitamin D: the benefits
Vitamin D promotes good bone and heart health and boosts our immune system. It also plays specific roles with regard to our skin. It increases skin elasticity and bounce, decreases acne due to its anti-inflammatory properties, lessens the appearance of lines and dark spots and is additionally a powerful antioxidant.
With all of that, it certainly earns its seat at the table.
How to get vitamin D into your life
Get vitamin D into you through tuna, salmon or eggs. If you veer towards a more plant-based lifestyle, don’t distress – fortified orange juice and soya milk are good sources too!
The most foolproof, fail-safe way to guarantee that you’re getting enough vitamin D, in my humble opinion, is through supplements. We can’t pinpoint exactly how much vitamin D is in any given food source as it is never exactly the same and our absorption differs on top of that. Supplements take that guesswork out.
I came across ZENii supplements in the last year, created by Dr Johanna Ward, an award-winning cosmetic doctor from the UK. They have a brilliant vitamin D supplement called “Sunshine Bottled” that contains 2000IU of vitamin D per dose.
One thing is for certain: sunbeds are not the answer. Yes, they may help you to create some vitamin D but the risks outweigh any benefits.
Getting the glow without the sun
If you crave a golden gleam all year round and want the “glow” that even an SPF-protected Summer gives you, there is no shame in reaching for the false tan. To be entirely honest, I personally like a gentle slick of it to take the blue hue out of my milky-white, Casper legs. A nice, believable Winter tan is the TanOrganic Self Tan Oil – I mention this product a lot as it is ideal for those who want a gentle colour without having to build up a very gradual tan product.
To conclude, you do actually need vitamin D so you have to make sure you are getting enough, whether it’s built into your diet or through supplements – your bones, heart AND skin will adore you for it.