Vitamin B12We need vitamin B12 for releasing the energy from the food we eat, for a healthy nervous system and for manufacturing red blood cells. It’s a water soluble vitamin which means the body cannot store it, and we need to consume enough of this vitamin each day to remain healthy. Vitamin B12 is produced in the guts of animals by the naturally occurring bacteria that reside in their gastrointestinal systems. For this reason, meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy products are all good sources of vitamin B12. Vegans and those following a primarily plant based diet are therefore at risk of becoming deficient in vitamin B12. For this reason, it’s advised that those who avoid eating animal products take a vitamin B12 supplement of at least 10 micrograms per day.
Vitamin DThe majority of our vitamin D doesn’t come from our diet. Instead it’s manufactured by the body when sunlight hits the skin. During the summer months, most of us can expect to get enough vitamin D in order to keep our teeth and bones strong and healthy. During the winter months, when our skin is covered, we spend less time outdoors and the sun isn’t as strong, we’re at risk of a vitamin D deficiency. Those who don’t tend to spend much time outside due to ill health, immobility or incarceration or who cover their skin due to religious or cultural reasons are also at risk of a vitamin D deficiency all year round. Vitamin D is present in some foods including oily fish (salmon, mackerel, herrings etc), red meat and egg yolks. It can also be found in some fortified foods such as some dairy spreads and cereals. Taking a vitamin D supplement of 10 micrograms per day is recommended during the winter months and all year round for those who spend most or all of their time inside or with their skin covered.