Vitamin D and Ireland

Vitamin D and Ireland


Vitamin D is important in the development of healthy bone, muscles and teeth and in the prevention of osteoporosis in adults and rickets in children.

Osteoporosis is a silent disease which decreases the strength/thickness of bones and causes them to be more fragile, putting people at risk of fractured/broken bones.

We get Vitamin D from three main sources – 1 Sunlight, 2 Our diet and 3 Supplements.

In Ireland due to our northern latitude, and especially during the months of November to March we tend to receive poor quality and quantity of sunlight.  In addition to this, (appropriate) better use of sunscreen and more people working indoors vitamin D deficiency is becoming more common in Ireland.  BUT because sun exposure increases the risk of skin damage including skin cancer it is important to balance the need for Vitamin D with the risk of sun exposure.

For example – Do not let your skin redden from sun exposure and fair skinned people need to be extra careful as they are at heightened risk of skin damage.

Foods which contain Vitamin D include cod liver oil and oily fish (including salmon and herring).  Other foods which contain some levels of Vitamin D are – eggs, milk with added vitamin D, breakfast cereals with added Vitamin D.

Some groups of people are at higher risk of vitamin D Deficiency and these include – people with darker skin, older people who may not be outside as much, pregnant women, babies (especially <1 year), people who wear clothes completely covering their skin.

It is currently advised that babies less than 12 months are given a vitamin D supplement.

Some people are advised to take a Vitamin D supplement. Please talk to us if you have any concerns/questions about the above.

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