Vitamin D is essential as it plays a key role in the absorption of calcium to optimise bone health. Studies have shown that ongoing vitamin D deficiencies can lead to rickets in children and osteomalacia (soft bones) in adults. Vitamin D also plays a role in maintaining a healthy immune system, healthy skin and muscle strength.
Who is at risk of vitamin D deficiency? Those identified as ‘at risk’ of vitamin D deficiency include those who have darker skin, spend most their time inside or train and compete indoors, live in southern areas of Australia (in winter), and/or have diets low in fat.
Where do you get vitamin D? The main source comes from sunlight on the skin, with dietary sources also contributing. Although vitamin D requirements can’t be met by diet alone, good dietary sources of vitamin D include oily fish (salmon, herring and mackerel), margarine, some fortified milk and UV exposed mushrooms.
If you’re considered to be at risk of vitamin D deficiency, it’s a good idea to visit your GP and have a blood test to check your vitamin D levels.