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Irish People Lack Vitamin D


Irish People Lack Vitamin D

Here in Ireland basking in the sunlight is a rare thing, especially during the winter months when we are predisposed to gloomy, grey weather. So when the sun does actually shine we are energetic and euphoric. This is because sunlight increases serotonin levels which help to boost your mood. Ireland, the U.K and Scandinavian countries are particularly at risk of Seasonal Affective Disorder during the winter months.

New research conducted by UCC scientists has found that one in eight Irish people are deficient in Vitamin D. Professor Kevin Cashman and Professor Mairead Kiely of UCC’s Centre for Nutrition Research said that up to 40 percent of people throughout Europe are lacking in Vitamin D. Almost 56,000 people from 18 European countries participated in the study. The findings were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The research found that people who had darker skin in the United Kingdom, Norway and Finland were 18 to 65 percent more likely to be deficient in Vitamin D than those with lighter skin from the same countries.

Professor Cashman says “While sunlight is a key provider, it is not strong enough during winter months to allow skin to make vitamin D”. “Even in summer, public health advice suggests limiting unprotected sun exposure due to important concerns about skin damage and cancer. The alternative source of vitamin D is dietary supply, however the amount in the diet of many Europeans has been shown to be low. Thus, additional supplies are required in the diet.”

Vitamin D consumption is very important for the elderly. This is because as we age our muscle mass declines, which makes us weaker and we are more prone to falls, fractures and osteoporosis. Calcium supplements combined with vitamin D will help to reduce our risk of developing osteoporosis. Vitamin D is required to help the body to absorb calcium which in turn keeps our bones and joints healthy. Children and babies who are lacking Vitamin D can be susceptible to rickets, which is a condition that causes weak, deformed bones. Heart disease, breast, prostate and colon cancer have also been linked to a reduced level of vitamin D in the body.

Nutritional sources of Vitamin D include:

Cod liver oil
Tuna canned in water.
Sardines canned in oil.
Milk and yogurt
Beef or calf liver

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