Over the last few days, people up and down the country have been sunning themselves and so vitamin D levels are the least of our worries. But, vitamin D is essential for healthy bones and joints, so how are you keeping your levels topped up?
Throughout the year, most of us don’t get enough vitamin D – so much so that last year, the government issued advice for everyone over the age of one to consider taking a daily supplement of 10 micrograms.
Most of the vitamin D we get is made when we’re in the sunlight, so it’s no surprise that we UK residents just aren’t getting enough.
Putting the D in food
There are a few foods that are naturally high in vitamin D, such as oily fish, red meat, liver and egg yolks.
But in the last few years, it seems like lots of foods that contain added vitamin D have cropped up in our supermarkets.
I’ve seen vitamin D added to milk in Asda, mushrooms in Tesco, and bread in M&S. Not to forget the margarines, breakfast cereals and yoghurts that are fortified with vitamin D.
I spoke to some nutrition experts who said that new food sources of vitamin D were a welcome addition, but that you’d have to eat them every day to make sure you were getting enough. And often, a supplement can be cheaper.
Personally, I’d prefer to rely on a supplement that will give me the amount I need, rather than try to calculate the levels in lots of different fortified foods every day.
But I can see how buying vitamin-infused staples like milk and bread might be an easy way to get what you need without making any changes.
Getting vitamin D
If you do choose to buy food with added vitamins, you’d be forgiven for thinking it’ll give you everything you need in one portion.
The government advice is for adults and children over the age of one to get 10 micrograms of vitamin D every day. But you won’t see this on any food labels, as these are bound by labelling rules which quote an old figure of 5 micrograms.
So while a yoghurt drink might say it’ll give you 15% of your daily recommended intake, it could actually be delivering just 7.5%.
Do you buy food that’s been fortified with vitamin D? And do you check the label to see how much you’re getting? Or do you stick to supplements?