Professor Michael Holick, world renowned global expert on Vitamin D, came to Dublin to speak about Ireland's vitamin D deficiency. 

“The importance of vitamin D for bone health and a variety of other serious conditions at all life stages cannot be underestimated. Ireland's northerly latitude, means people living in Ireland are particularly challenged in getting vitamin D from the sun and must ensure they are getting all the vitamin D they need through their diet”.

Professor Holick with Professor Moira O’Brien

During his visit to Dublin, Professor Holick had an informal meeting with Professor Moira O’Brien of the Irish Osteoporosis Society to discuss the growing concern for Vitamin D deficiency in Ireland and the impact this is having on the general population. 

“At present it is estimated that 300,000 people in Ireland have Osteoporosis. One in four men and one in two women over 50 will develop an osteoporotic fracture due to Osteoporosis in their lifetime. 

Vitamin D Deficiency can affect children

"The disease can affect even children” said Professor Moira O’Brien, founder of the Irish Osteoporosis Society. Children nowadays are more at risk then previous generations due to low intake of vitamin D and poor lifestyle choices which includes diet and lack of physical exercise.

In an interview earlier last week with RTÉ’s Sean O’Rourke Professor Holick recommends good sources of Vitamin D such as:

"Wild caught salmon, mackerel, herring, mushrooms exposed to sun light and cod liver oil.” He went on to say, "there are some foods that are fortified with vitamin D, milk in particular and a good source is Avonmore Super Milk [there are other fortified milks available] which actually contains the recommended 5ug of vitamin D a day for children and adults”.

So how can we get more Vitamin D in our diet? These foods can help:

  • Cod liver oil
  • Salmon
  • Mackrel
  • Sun dried mushrooms
  • Eggs (Vitamin D found in yolk)
  • Fortified Milk 
  • Fortified Cereal
  • Liver (from Lamb)

Make sure to get your share of vitamin D

Some Vitamin D Facts:

  • Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps our bodies use calcium to build and maintain strong bones and teeth.
  • It helps to regulate cell division, normal muscle function and supports the function of the immune system.
  • its known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’ because our bodies can make it from the sun. When sunlight hits our skin, the ultra-violet (UVB) sunrays are used to make vitamin D.
  • The amount of vitamin D produced depends on the season, time of day and skin type.
  • Vitamin D deficiency has emerged as a public health problem in Ireland with the incidence of rickets re-emerging in recent years.
  • The term "vitamin D" refers to several different forms of this vitamin. Two forms are important in humans: vitamin D2, which is made by plants, mushrooms and yeast, and vitamin D3, which is made by human skin when exposed to sunlight. Foods may be fortified with vitamin D2 or vitamin D3.
  • Its recommended that all infants, whether breastfed or formula fed, should receive a daily supplement of 5 micro-grams of vitamin D.