Vitamin D - the Sunshine Vitamin for a healthy pregnancy by Zakia Mance
19 August 2017
Zakia is ZenBirth's resident Naturopath, and her blogs address the mind and body in a holistic way, giving you precious tips on how to look after yourselves and your little ones.
Vitamin D has recently been in the news, so Zakia explores here this important health-giving vitamin.
What’s Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is one of my favourite vitamins most commonly known for promoting good healthy bones and preventing rickets it also plays a major role in a multitude of other bodily functions we tend to forget about. It helps your Immune system, which helps you to fight infections, it plays a huge role in keeping good muscle function, keeping good cardiovascular function for a healthy heart and circulation, with the respiratory system –for healthy lungs and airways, brain development and has even anti-cancer effects.
Where can I find Vitamin D?
Vitamin D unlike the other vitamins can be produced by our bodies when our skins are exposed to the sun. That’s why it’s commonly known that we feel more under the weather during the winter months as a lack of sun and day light also decreases a production of Vit D.
It is also present in our diet, oily fish – such as salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel, red meat ,liver , egg yolks, fortified foods such as most fat spreads and some breakfast cereals.
What are the symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency?
The symptoms of vitamin D deficiency are sometimes vague and can include tiredness and general aches and pains. Some people may not have any symptoms at all. If you have a severe vitamin D deficiency you may have pain in your bones and weakness, which may mean you have difficulty getting around. You may also have frequent infections. However, not everyone gets these symptoms.
Who is likely to be Vitamin D deficient?
- Infants that are breastfed and aren’t given a vitamin D supplement. If you’re feeding your baby on breast milk alone, and you don’t give your baby a vitamin D supplement or take a supplement yourself, your baby is more likely to be deficient in vitamin D.
- Pregnant women.
- People with darker skin. - the darker your skin the more sun you need to get the same amount of vitamin D as a fair-skinned person.
- People who spend a lot of time indoors during the day. For example, if you’re housebound, work nights or are in hospital for a long time.
- People who cover their skin all the time. For example, if you wear sunscreen or if your skin is covered with clothes.
So how are you able to maintain a good level of Vitamin D?
First of all make sure you get plenty of daylight/sun every day. It sounds easier said than done in the UK! There is a misconception that if it’s cloudy there is no point to go out as we won’t produce Vitamin D. A complete cloud cover only halves the energy of ultraviolet rays, which trigger Vitamin D production, so you can still beat the wintertime blues with a little time in the "sun."
Second, look after your diet and make sur you eat plenty of food that contain vitamin D. Oily fish: sardines, mackerel, salmon not only contain Vitamin D but also have Omega 3 whish are wonderful for our brains and the brains of the little ones (this will be my next topic so stay tuned ) dairy products, eggs….
And finally, if you think you might be vitamin D deficient or have a diet that doesn’t include the food group I mentioned; it be might be worth taking supplementation and talking to your GP about it. I have added some links below to help you get more information.
Stay healthy, stay happy!
Zakia Mance, Naturopath and Hypnobirthing Practitioner