Sunlight and vitamin D for runners

As runners, we naturally seem to understand the importance of sunlight and being outside. but an interesting problem could occur this summer if we’re not careful - reduced sunlight as we stay at home more.

With that in mind, Public Health England (PHE) has reissued its recommendation for vitamin D supplementation. They are advising that we should all consider taking a 10-microgram vitamin D supplement throughout spring and summer while the lockdown continues. This is because we may not be getting enough vitamin D from sun exposure.

PHE’s advice on vitamin D is not about preventing coronavirus but about maintaining muscle and bone health. Sara Stanner, Science Director, BNF (British National Formulary) explains: "In normal circumstances, at this time of year the warmer weather means we may get outdoors more often for walks, picnics in the park or trips to the beach. Unfortunately, as the effects of coronavirus continue, many of us are limited in the time we can spend outdoors.

Correctly abiding by government rules and staying at home is immensely important and, while many of us have limited access to sunlight, this means we need to take a little extra care to keep our vitamin D levels healthy. If you’re purchasing supplements, it’s important not to buy more than you need to help keep supplies of supplements available for everyone."

The importance of vitamin D is widely highlighted for keeping bones and muscles healthy. While the role of vitamin D in bone health is well recognised, it is also involved in supporting the immune system.

Vitamin D is found naturally in oily fish, including salmon, mackerel, and sardines. It is also present in eggs, certain mushrooms, and in foods fortified with vitamin D such as breakfast cereals, fat spreads and yoghurts. Red meat can also contribute to vitamin D intake.

The key is to recognise the importance of a balanced diet. This is invariably the best route, particularly when you’re a runner. Have an understanding of what could be on the list of prohibited drugs, especially when it comes to supplements.

For more information of vitamins for runners and additional running tips, visit our tips and advice page today.