Answer- sunlight, Okay so here’s a question?? What happens when it’s winter, freezing cold and we’re in the middle of a pandemic and our daylight activities have been restricted. Where do we get our Vitamin D from then?
As we’re now finding ourselves indoors more than usual and since our main source of vitamin D is sunlight, we need to ensure we’re getting the right levels through supplements and food sources. While it’s difficult to get enough vitamin D from food alone, it can be found in foods such as:
- Oily fish
- Some breakfast cereals
- Margarine that is fortified with vitamin D
- Yogurt that is fortified with vitamin D.
Vitamin D during pregnancy is very important for bone development but our needs cannot be met through diet alone and as you can see from the above; it’ll be even further limited if you’re following a vegan lifestyle. Vegetarians can load up on eggs but it’s still not going to cut it and especially during pregnancy.
Recommendations for Vitamin D
You make vitamin D in your skin when your skin is exposed to summer sunlight. The UV rays are strong enough to do this in most parts of the UK between April and September. However, let’s be honest; we can’t solely rely on the summer sun in the UK can we? and it’s now thought that many of us in the UK do not make enough vitamin D in our skin to last them all year round.
New recommendations suggest that most people might benefit from a vitamin D supplement in the winter months. Pregnant women, however, should take extra vitamin D throughout pregnancy, as low vitamin D status in pregnancy can impact on the bone health of the baby throughout its life.
Pregnant vegans should take a vitamin D 10 micrograms daily. Note that in most cases, vitamin D3 is derived from animal sources, so vegans will choose the D2 form although it appears that D2 is not as well absorbed as the D3 form.
Vegan Vitamin D supplements are a plenty on the market at the moment and made from a plant-based alternative, lichen algae.
Those at particular risk of low vitamin D status:
- Women with darker skin (for example, those from South Asian, Caribbean or African descent) maybe at greater risk, as darker skin requires more sun exposure to make sufficient vitamin D. Women who rarely go outside may not make enough vitamin D. They may not go outside because they are unable to do so because of a disability, because they are in a residential setting, or because they choose to stay inside.
- Women who are obese and those who have gestational diabetes are also at particular risk of vitamin D insufficiency.
- If women wear concealing clothing when they are outside – for example, if they never have their shoulders or arms exposed to the sun – they may not be able to make enough vitamin D.
- Women who do not eat meat or fish may get less vitamin D from their diet (dietary vitamin D). Although dietary vitamin D alone does not prevent vitamin D insufficiency, it can provide a useful additional source.
- All pregnant women should take a supplement of 10 micrograms of vitamin D a day throughout pregnancy.