Dr Ellie on why people should be taking Vitamin D supplements
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As sun can be a rare sight during the winter and autumn months in the UK, it’s time to turn to other sources of vitamin D. While foods like oily fish and egg yolks usually get all the spotlight when it comes to the sunshine vitamin sources, mushrooms could be just as potent. In fact, research suggests that a certain amount can give you exactly as much vitamin D as you need daily.
Classed as a fat-soluble vitamin, vitamin D helps to absorb calcium and phosphorus from your diet.
This ability makes the vitamin essential for your bone and muscle health, with low levels putting you at risk of a slew of complications.
While you can get all the sunshine vitamin you need during the summer just from spending time outdoors, autumn and winter don’t offer the same benefit, according to the NHS.
During this time, symptoms like tiredness, bone pain and depression can creep up, signalling it’s time to top your levels.
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Although a daily supplement of vitamin D is a must from October onwards, mushrooms could also meet your daily intake.
According to the health service, adults need 10 micrograms of vitamin D daily, which is the equivalent of 400 International Units (IU).
This is where the fungi step in with a promise to meet exactly this amount.
Characterised by their earthy taste, mushrooms can provide between 50 to “100 percent of the daily required vitamin D”, according to a study, published in the journal Nutrients.
The research concluded that eating 100 grams of the brown food can offer exactly this amount.
What’s more, you can get a pack of mushrooms for less than a pound in some leading grocery stores.
But how does the sunshine vitamin get into the small food? The research suggests that mushrooms in some large commercial farms around the world enjoy something similar to tanning sessions.
The producers expose them to UV radiation, which helps the fungi to generate the sunshine vitamin.
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So just like humans, the brown foods also get their vitamin D from the sun.
However, it’s important to note that not all producers expose their mushrooms to UV radiation.
Fortunately, the labels on supermarket bought mushrooms can help you identify which type offers the fat-soluble vitamin.
The researchers added: “Vitamin D enhanced mushrooms contain high concentrations of vitamin D2, which is bioavailable and relatively stable during storage and cooking.
“Therefore, consumption of vitamin D enhanced mushrooms could substantially contribute to alleviating the global public health issue of vitamin D deficiency.”
Am I vitamin D deficient?
Although vitamin D deficiency can be hard to spot in adults, there are some tell-tale signs that might ring the alarm bells, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
The health portal shares that the lack of the sunshine vitamin can present as:
- Bone pain
- Muscle weakness, muscle aches or muscle cramps
- Mood changes and depression.
However, some people might experience no signs or symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency at all. That’s why it’s important to follow the NHS advice and supplement vitamin D during the colder months.
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