Have you got your Vitamin D this winter?

PharmacistNHS Western Isles is reminding individuals to ensure they are getting enough Vitamin D, especially during the winter season.

Vitamin D is important for pregnant and breastfeeding women and for young children – and is available free of charge for these groups.  Adults are also recommended to take a single daily Vitamin D supplement, whilst for older adults, a single daily Vitamin D supplement with added calcium may be recommended to protect against Osteoporosis.

Vitamin D is essential for healthy bones and a lack of Vitamin D may lead to health problems.  Vitamin D is known to be important for good overall health and strong and healthy bones (specifically Vitamin D3 which increases the body’s ability to absorb calcium); it is also an important factor in ensuring muscles, heart, lungs and brain work well and in helping the body to fight infection.

Low Vitamin D levels are more common in pregnant and breastfeeding women, and infants and children under 5 years.  Pregnant women must ensure that not only their own requirement for Vitamin D is met, but that they also build up adequate stores in the developing foetus for early infancy. Lower levels of Vitamin D may also be more common in adults aged 65 years and over, black/other darker-skinned minority ethnic or mixed race groups, and those with limited exposure to sunlight.

NHS Western Isles is encouraging those who haven’t already, to view their fun and quirky three localised short films which raise awareness of the importance of Vitamin D in childhood.

Featuring local children and adults from the Butt to Barra, the films were created by NHS Western Isles to bring some humour to an otherwise serious subject, with some light-hearted moments.

Using adults whose voices are dubbed by children, each of the films delivers its own Vitamin D message: The importance of Vitamin D; How do I get my Vitamin D?; and The Healthy Start Scheme.  The films also note that affordable Vitamin D supplements are available – your pharmacist or GP practice can advise you.

Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers are reminded that they can obtain their free Healthy Start Pregnancy tablets from their Midwife or Health Visitor, whilst parents of children aged six months to four years, can obtain their free Healthy Start Vitamin Drops from their GP Surgery, Health Visitor, Sports Centre or Nursery.

The three films are available to view via the ParentingWI website at: www.parentingwi.scot.nhs.uk