Sunlight and vitamin D

As runners we naturally seem to understand the importance of 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, advising that we should all consider taking a 10 microgram vitamin D supplement throughout spring and summer while the lockdown continues, because we may not be getting enough vitamin D from sun exposure.

PHE’s advice on vitamin D is not about preventing coronavirus but for 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 key is to recognise the importance of a balanced diet. This is invariably the best route - but always, always when you’re a runner, have an understanding on what could be on the prohibited drugs list, especially when it comes to supplements.