April 2022: On the Treatment Table

April 06 2022

Hello sunshine! Time for some Vitamin D

It’s a lovely sunny day today in Kingswood, there’s a light wind and it feels like spring has finally arrived. There’s that classic seasonal sense of optimism as we come out hibernation from the darkness of winter, but this spring also sees the end of 2 long years of pandemic hibernation as we learn to live alongside Covid 19 for the foreseeable future. Spring is the time when we can get outdoors to enjoy the longer days and better weather, it must be because at Action Potential we always get a rush of gardening and DIY related injuries around the Easter and May bank holidays! Luckily spending time outdoors has great benefits to our mental and physical health which far outweigh the risk of the occasional mishap. 

One benefit I wanted to highlight of getting outside in the sunlight is our natural production of vitamin D. Our bone health relies on vitamin D as it helps the absorption of calcium from our diet, it also has a role in our immune function as highlighted during the Covid19 pandemic. From the age of 1 upwards we need 10 micrograms of vitamin D a day. From late March to the end of September most of us will make all the vitamin D we need from direct exposure of our skin to sunlight. We also get vitamin D from our diet, sources include oily fish, red meat, eggs, and fortified foods such as breakfast cereals, fat spreads and infant formula (although interestingly cow’s milk is not fortified in the UK). 

Most of us make enough vitamin D by being outside daily for short periods between 11am and 3pm with our forearms, hands and lower legs uncovered and without sunscreen. If you’re sitting inside by a sunny window, the glass will absorb the UVB rays which the body needs to produce vitamin D, so this doesn’t count. There’s not an exact time required as it depends on skin colour and coverage. People with dark skin need to spend longer in the sun to produce enough vitamin D. Although you can’t overdose on vitamin D due to exposure to sunlight, do remember it’s important to cover up with suitable clothing or use sunscreen over SPF15 before you burn or your skin turns red to avoid lasting damage and increased risk of skin cancer. If you’re not able to get outside regularly then the NHS recommend taking a daily supplement of 10 micrograms of vitamin D, this also applies to babies and younger children under 4 years old all year round. For the rest of us supplements are recommended for the dark winter months to top up our vitamin D when we spend more time inside and our exposure to sunlight is insufficient.

Apart from vitamin D there’s lots of other great health benefits to getting outside, so in the meantime, take care of yourselves, stay fit and well and go careful with the gardening and DIY! If you need any further advice or treatment, then the team at Action Potential will be happy to help. You can call us on 0117 961 2060, find us on Facebook or email enquiries@actionpotential.org.uk to book. We provide chiropractic, physiotherapy, foot health treatments and Pilates at Kingswood Health Centre and Hengrove Park Leisure Centre.