Despite Australia being a country of seemingly endless sunshine, nearly a quarter of Aussies are actually vitamin D deficient. TRUTH BOMB.

Sure, we know vitamin D comes from the sun, but new research by vitamin D brand, Ostelin, found that almost half the population (46 per cent) don’t actually know what it does.

We spoke with Robin Daly, leading vitamin D expert and Chair in Exercise and Ageing at Deakin University, who helped clear things up on why we need it.

A healthy intake helps to promote strong bones

Vitamin D plays an essential role in the body’s calcium absorption, which is critical for bone health and muscle function. Sufficient vitamin D also helps prevent musculoskeletal conditions such as osteoporosis, so if you want to be strong throughout life and into your later years, now’s the time to make sure you’re looking after your bones! 

The more active you are, the better

High-impact exercise, team sports and strength training have all been proven to assist in the maintenance of strong bones and muscles. In fact, the best form of exercise to help maintain healthy bones and muscle function are weight-bearing exercises. These exercises force you to work against gravity and include activities like walking, hiking, jogging, dancing and stair climbing

You reach peak bone density in your 20s

No, bone health isn’t just a concern for older people – most people actually reach their maximum bone strength and density between the ages of 25 and 30. Healthy lifestyle practices during your 20s can have a positive influence on your bone mass and ensure good bone health for later years, especially weight-bearing exercises. To get the most out of these activities and to challenge bones and muscles, vary your exercise routine and ensure that it increases in intensity over time.

You can’t get it from many food sources

Unfortunately, diet alone can only deliver approximately 5-10 per cent of adequate vitamin D. The best source comes from natural and safe UV exposure. During winter, getting between 7-30 minutes of daily safe sun exposure at midday will help maintain vitamin D levels for those with fair skin, but this time does vary of course depending on season, location and skin type.

Don’t forget about calcium

Calcium is crucial to the development and maintenance of healthy bones. The body also uses calcium for the health and functioning of nerve and muscle tissue, so it’s important that you consume enough of this nutrient on a regular basis. Calcium can be found in a wide range of dairy foods including milk, yoghurt and cheese. Non-dairy sources include cabbage, kale, broccoli, sardines, tinned salmon and tofu.

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