Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 2 October 2014

Are Ulster folk getting enough Vitamin D?

University of Ulster scientists are to explore if people living in the province are getting enough vitamin D.

University of Ulster scientists are to explore if people living in the province are getting enough vitamin D.

Essential for the formation of healthy bones, vitamin D may also help to prevent disease such as diabetes, cancers, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.

The researchers from the Northern Ireland Centre for Food and Health are to embark on a three year project in collaboration with colleagues from University College Cork to investigate what level of dietary vitamin D is required to maintain good vitamin D status in the winter time.

The study could have massive implications for ordinary Ulster people who find it increasingly difficult to be as healthy as possible in today's hectic lifestyle.

A small amount of vitamin D can be obtained from the diet but the main source of vitamin D is exposure to the ultra-violet radiation in sunlight.

However, as a result of modern lifestyles, in which people spend much of their time indoors, and increased concerns about contracting skin cancer, people are not exposed to sunlight as often as in the past.

Dr Julie Wallace, a senior research fellow at Ulster University, said: "For six months of the year, roughly from the end of September until mid March, we cannot make enough vitamin D through exposure to sunlight.

"Even if we are out all day every day, it isn't possible as the sun is too low in the sky."

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