About Vitamin D

Throughout the ages, most people received enough vitamin D through exposure to sunlight.

Now that most people in Australia work and live indoors, our exposure to sunlight has fallen, leading to lower vitamin D levels. Mounting evidence shows a range of health problems - not just osteoporosis - are linked to a lack of vitamin D.

Vitamin D is important for the absorption of calcium in the diet, maintaining normal blood levels of calcium and phosphate, minerals which are in turn needed for the normal mineralisation of bone, muscle contraction and nerve conduction.

As every organ in the body has vitamin D receptors, low vitamin D can affect our health on many fronts, being linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, some cancers, multiple sclerosis, and mental health conditions. This has led to a huge increase in the research on vitamin D and health.

The body can make adequate vitamin D providing it is exposed to enough sunlight. It is the action of sunlight on the skin that generates vitamin D in the body. When sunlight exposure is low, for instance when people are outside only in the early morning and evenings, dietary sources of vitamin D become more important in order to maintain good health.

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