Winter brings with it short days, dreary weather and a lack of vitamin D, and now experts have revealed which cities suffer the most.
Spoiler alert; it’s the northern ones.
Scientists from the University of Manchester teamed up with Boots Vitamins to investigate which areas are most likely to be lowest in vitamin D this month, by considering factors such as available amounts of vitamin D-effective UVB rays, cloud cover, and ozone and aerosol levels.
According to the NHS, vitamin D helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body, and is needed to help keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy.
Boots Vitamins undertook the research in an attempt to make the nation more aware about the importance of vitamin D, after studies revealed one in five adults and one sixth of children have low levels.
Human bodies can store vitamin D accumulated over the summer, but research has indicated these stores are not sufficient and health conditions affecting bones and muscles are on the rise.
Unfortunately for those of us in the more northern areas of our countries, Stirling, Manchester, Carlisle and Bangor were revealed to be among the cities whose residents are most likely to be lowest in vitamin D this February.
Carlisle is predicted to have the lowest levels of all the cities in England, while Bangor is expected to see the least in Wales and Stirling the lowest of all in Great Britain.
Compared to those in Scotland, the lucky residents of the south of England are thought to have experienced around 28 more days when UV rays were high enough for the body to make a useful amount of vitamin D in 2018.
The experts worked with Boots Vitamins to create a vitamin D Projection Map, which shows the areas of the country where vitamin D levels will likely be at their lowest now.
Check it out here:
Explaining the findings, Ann Webb, professor of atmospheric radiation at the University of Manchester, said:
The analysis we have done for the UK in 2018 confirms the overall trend that UVB in sunlight decreases the further north you go – this will have a direct impact on the ability to make vitamin D of the population at each location.
There are many other factors that influence each individual’s circulating 25OHD, which determines vitamin D status.
These include the amount of time a person spends in the sun, the colour of their skin and the amount of skin exposed, but the single greatest source of the vitamin for almost all of us comes from exposure to UVB in sunlight.
To help brighten up Stirling against their poor vitamin D levels, Boots Vitamins made the residents their own personal beach, complete with hammock and palm trees.
The city only enjoys 38 per cent of the vitamin D-effective UVB which popular Spanish sunshine resort Marbella gets, so the pop-up beach provided locals with a winter pick-me-up, including vitamin D supplements, to help get them through the final weeks of winter.
Private tutor Ross Drummond took a turn on the beach, saying:
It’s definitely an escape from the cold we’re having right now. It’s probably been years since I went to the beach, so this is great.
While fellow beach-goer Katrina Doulos said:
I love the beach – absolutely fantastic. It’s not surprising Stirling was found to have the lowest levels of vitamin D.
It’s always dark and dank here, we don’t see enough of the sunshine.
Boots Vitamins’ spokesperson Parminder Kaur explained:
Boots Vitamins understands that we all need vitamin D to allow us to absorb calcium, to help keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy, and a lack of it can lead to poor bone development.
Bone density develops from birth and reaches its peak at 30 years old; from then on you cannot build up more density.
While vitamin D is found in small amounts in certain foods such as oily fish like salmon, mackerel and sardines, and red meat and egg yolks, it is difficult for us to get the recommended amount of vitamin D from food alone, particularly during the autumn and winter months.
This is why it is recommended by the Department of Health to consider taking a 10mcg daily supplement.
Summer can’t come quick enough!
If you have a story you want to tell, send it to [email protected]