Time for the Vitamin D!

by | Sep 5, 2016 | Health and Wellbeing, Nutrition

We’re losing our Vitamin D……

For the next 6 months!

The sun if falling lower in the sky and we’re almost at the autumn equinox.  Not only is winter on its way, but living where we do in the Northern hemisphere our body has all but lost its ability to convert sunlight to Vitamin D.  For the next 6 months we are going to have to live off what we have stored up over the summer months…..and studies clearly show that most of us are well and truly deficient -even in the summer months!

So the store cupboard is empty for winter!

Does this matter?

The answer is an emphatic yes!  Because almost every single cell in the body has a Vitamin D receptor, and needs Vitamin D to thrive.  The more we learn about it the more we understand that not only does Vitamin D help us keep our skeleton and teeth strong, but good levels help prevent numerous degenerative diseases taking hold – things like depression, Parkinson’s, sleep disorders, heart disease, autoimmune disorders, arthritis, birth defect, asthma, immune function and even Chron’s disease.  It has also been shown to be of benefit in over 17 different types of cancers, and sports people find a deficiency impairs their performance.

So as you can see, its important.  Indeed, some scientists are getting so excited about the potential health benefits of Vitamin D that there are calls for widespread Vitamin D supplementation to brought in.  For example, Robert Heaney, Professor of Medicine at Creighton Univerisity, Omaha called for an ‘immediate improvement in Vitamin D status of the general population’. [1] Given the list above, it is quite dizzying to think of the potential benefits that might be reaped by the general population from just supplementing adequate amounts of Vitamin D in a countries like our, in the Northern hemisphere.

So how did our ancestor’s manage?  Quite well actually as they spent a lot more time outdoors than we do nowadays – and those who didn’t got rickets.  Now with cosy houses, televisions, computers, office jobs and cars the majority of us don’t often get outside even when the weather is good.  And sitting in a sunny patch inside doesn’t cut it.  The sun has to strike you skin – free of sunscreen – for the magic to happen!

So, taking a Vitamin D supplement daily is something of a no-brainer for us poor sun-starved Brits.  The next question is how much should you take?

Well, experts calculate that minimum levels for health should be AT LEAST 10 times the government-set RDA, which most experts agree is wholly inadequate.  In fact, many of the leading Vitamin D researchers such as Dr John Cannell, Dr Michael F Holick, and Reinhold Veith all believe daily intake of 5,000 IU minimum is needed and perfectly safe.  And I have to say, they’ve got me convinced because this is where I aim for most of the year.  We may see Government guidelines updated but it usually takes years for them to catch up with research.  That’s a long time to wait to get the best ‘official’ advice if you are ill, so always do your own research and that way you’ll be ahead of the curve.

Don’t forget the older you are the more you need, and also dark skinned people are likely to be even more deficient than light skinned.

Its too important to leave to chance or just ‘hope’ that you have sufficient sun exposure during the summer to see you through the winter.  Supplementing is cheap, and the benefits potentially huge.  I use a sublingual spray which delivers a whopping 3,000 iu per spray.  Very easy and safe to use.

So don’t delay – start taking your Vitamin D today!

[1] The Case for Improving Vitamin D Status – Robert P Heaney, Journal of Steroid Biochemistry & Molecular Biology 2007 vol 103 pp 635-641