YMCA Winter 2020 | Page 6

Young people are also at risk of Vitamin D deficiency. AUTHOR MELANIE MARINO Melanie Marino is a Masters-qualified, Accredited Practising Dietitian and founder and owner of Melanie Marino Nutrition and Dietetics. Her expert comments have appeared on the ABC, Channel 7 and in the Herald Sun and Womens Fitness Magazine. Melanie enjoys making nutrition practical and fun and loves cooking, travelling and sport. ARE YOU GETTING ENOUGH VITAMIN D? FEATURE ARTICLE WINTER 2020 Dietitian Melanie Marino shares her tips on Vitamin D, and how this ‘sunshine vitamin’ can help you remain radiant and healthy through the winter months. This year, the largest-ever study on Vitamin D conducted in Australia concluded that most of us just aren’t getting enough of it. So let’s learn a little more about this important vitamin. What is Vitamin D? Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that has impressive health benefits. It assists the absorption of calcium and phosphorus - which prevents the loss of bone mass. It also improves muscle function, assists our memory and cognitive functioning and strengthens our immune system. Low levels of Vitamin D have been associated with cancer, depression, diabetes, heart disease, multiple sclerosis and schizophrenia. How much sun do you need to make Vitamin D? How much sun your body needs to make Vitamin D is dependent on your skin type and where you live. People that have dark skin and those that are office or night shift workers have increased risk of deficiency. Older people and people with medical conditions are also more vulnerable, as they have limited time in the sun. Generally, a few minutes per day with your face, arms and hands exposed (while the UV index is above three and Vitamin D is the only vitamin which is a hormone. This means that when we’re exposed to sunlight, our body can make it itself. Other ways to obtain Vitamin D is through diet or supplements. How much Vitamin D do you need? The suggested target for men and women aged between 19 to 50 years is 600 international units (IU) per day. If you look at some of the food you may consume in a day; one cup of milk contains around 100 IU, two cooked eggs provide approximately 70 IU, and salmon has around 400 IU per serve. During winter, we see less sunshine and therefore rely more heavily on our stores, as well as food sources of Vitamin D. Research shows that the amount of Vitamin D each person requires varies dramatically from person to person. Vitamin D deficiency is incredibly common. The most common signs include aching bones, fatigue, forgetfulness, headaches, infections, migraines and night sweats. Vitamin D deficiency is three times more prevalent in people that are overweight or obese. If you have any gastrointestinal issues such as Crohns, Coeliac or Inflammatory Bowel Disease, you’re also likely to suffer from lower levels of Vitamin D. 6 YMCA HEALTHY LIVING MAGAZINE