The recent boost from the lovely sunny weather reminds me of how important vitamin D is to all of us and also that many of us are deficient in this essential vitamin.
We get our vitamin D from the sun and bright light as well as from a small group of foods. Things such as oily fish like salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel, red meat, liver and egg yolks can give us a little extra. But is that enough?
There is a lot of research out there that shows supplementing vitamin D can provide numerous health benefits to all of us.
Are you deficient?
Research has linked Vitamin D deficiency to major illnesses including breast cancer, colon cancer, prostrate cancer, heart disease, autoimmune diseases, depression, osteoporosis, diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure and cognitive impairment in older adults.
Signs of deficiency include aches and muscle weakness, difficulty thinking clearly, bone pain and fractures and unexplained fatigue.
One clear sign of deficiency in adults, children and babies, is if you have a sweaty head!
Apparently, many people get diagnosed with things such as fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue when they are really deficient in vitamin D.
Why do we need it?
- Vitamin D allows the body to convert and absorb calcium and phosphate that we need for strong bones, teeth and muscles.
- Serotonin (the hormone associated with our mood elevation) rises with exposure to bright light and decreases without it. Lack of vitamin D can therefore lower our serotonin levels, lower our mood and ultimately lead to depression.
- As we get older our kidneys are less efficient at converting vitamin D into a form that our body can use, so we need more of it.
- It is an important immune modulator so we need it to stem the onset of autoimmune diseases.
- DNA repair requires vitamin D.
- It reduces hypertension and the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Vit D is a fat-soluble vitamin, so people with conditions such as Crohn’s, Celiac Disease, gluten sensitivity and IBS, all mean that there is a lower ability to absorb fat and therefore a lower ability to absorb vitamin D.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) state that evidence suggests supplementing it for babies and children can help in the prevention of rickets.
The Scientific Advisory Committee for Nutrition (SACN) and the UK government recommend a dietary intake of 10 micrograms. In the autumn and winter when the sunlight is low, they recommend supplementing it due to the lack of sunlight. Some studies suggest it should be higher with a dose of 25 to 100 micrograms.
It is also worth knowing that sun protection cream can block our absorption from the sun so we may not be getting as much as we think we are in the spring and summer months.
Vitamin D testing is relatively cheap but deficiency can lead to numerous health problems that could be avoided. An optimum level of vitamin D can bring numerous benefits so supplementing it can help you achieve a better level of health.
Give yourself a boost
If you are experiencing ill-health at the moment or feel like you need a general boost, it could be worth getting your vitamin D levels checked out.
It is something I supplement and certainly recommend getting checked out to those with Lyme and other autoimmune diseases.