Where the Sun Don't Shine
Why do I feel like such a dunce when it comes to vitamin D?
Every year, at the beginning of December, my mama phones from Yorkshire so I can stir the Christmas pudding and make a wish. This year was no exception. I can’t reveal my wish (it won’t come true if I do), but I will say… If I could go back, I would change my mind. My new wish is for D to take an F’ing bottle!
Last week I phoned our health visitor for some words of wisdom. At first she tried to convince me to keep feeding; “You can express at work, it doesn’t matter if you do shift work”; I couldn’t bring myself to tell her that I was stopping because I WANTED TO. Despite having no magic formula, she did give me ample reassurance that I was doing all I could to coax the stubborn (chip-off-the-old-block) milk hating mini into taking his bottle. She also casually mentioned…
“and of course he has been getting his vitamin D so that will help with the absorption of any calcium you can get into him.”
What?! No he hadn’t. Despite this being my second child, childhood supplements of Vitamin D had somehow passed me by. I was religiously taking mine but neither of my children were getting theirs.
I decided to do some digging. Two hours later and I was still scrolling through the endless link on link. The never-ending-story. No conclusions, just links to more ‘helpful’ pages, all with slightly different information, slightly different advice and here lies the problem…. Were all written at slightly different times!
Vitamin D is a hot topic, constantly updating with no real consensus; so check the date of publication. My health visitor, pharmacist and GP, all of whom I greatly respect, all offered me slightly different advice, based on slightly different guidelines.
MilkMade’s Guidelines to Vitamin D
From March to September a normal adult should get enough vitamin D from being in direct sunlight for at least 30 minutes during the midday sun; but because we live under a cloud for the rest of the year, people in the UK are vitamin D deficient. In addition to our sunshine challenged state, there are groups who have a higher requirement:
The AT RISK groups:
- Pregnant Women.
- Breastfeeding Women. Both you AND your infant need extra vitamin D.
- Children (0-5 year olds) unless receiving over 500mls of formula milk a day which is fortified - finally a win for formula!
- People aged 65+. Probably because like our Maude, the elderly population always insist on putting a knee length coat on, regardless of the weather!
- People with darker skin.
- People who have limited sunlight exposure. Which now includes everyone in the UK from September to March!
If you fall into any of the above categories, (which we all do at least 6 months of the year), then you should be topping up your tan, chowing through beef liver, soy milk and fatty fish, or popping a little pill.
I consider myself very lucky to be living in a beautiful, if slightly grey, part of the world. Scotland is well known for its grand architecture, idyllic scenery, warm people and cold weather. The photo for this post was taken on the west coast over the summer - just to prove we do get some sun! It’s safe to say that I can’t imagine bringing our children up anywhere else…. except maybe the equally grey Yorkshire. If this means that we all have to pop an extra pill for half of the year, then I say bottoms up and here’s to you, The Sunshine Pill!
... and just in case topping up the tan is the preferred option...