Surprising findings suggested that a large proportion of the UK population are at risk of a range of health problems as a result of vitamin D deficiency. It is very difficult to obtain a sufficient dose of vitamin D through food sources and therefore sensible sun exposure is required. As you’ve probably already flagged, given the weather in the UK it is very difficult to get the required duration of sun exposure!
Vitamin D enhances calcium absorption and is a requirement for proper bone health. Deficiency may also be responsible for an increased risk of non-skeletal chronic diseases, autoimmune disorders and inflammatory bowel disease. The Chief Medical Officer for England voiced concerns over the increase in vitamin D related conditions and suggested vitamin D supplementation for certain groups most at risk. Considering only 10% vitamin D comes from our diet, this is an important consideration if symptoms of vitamin D deficiency are evident.
Lifestyle factors that increase the risk of vitamin D deficiency include a combination of darker skin pigmentation, spending daylight hours inside and excessive use of UV sun cream.