A B C …..?

SUNRAYSWhy we need the “Sunshine Vitamin” in winter.

It is estimated that about 50% of UK residents are deficient in Vitamin D and that 16% have a severe deficiency. So, why are we as a nation so deficient in this vital nutrient. Well the answer is in it’s common name – The Sunshine Vitamin . 90% of our Vit D comes from the sun. To be more precise our bodies amazingly can use the rays of the sun to convert naturally occurring chemicals in our skin, into Vitamin D. The remain 10% comes from your diet. Considering the lack of sunshine in the UK, its hardly surprising that many of us are deficient. That’s why I take Vitamin D in addition to my healthy diet.

To get the appropriate dose of sunshine you need to get about 30mins of a big body area (like your back or torso) of afternoon sun exposure per day for light skinned people! Most of us don’t even get that in summer! We have been scared into thinking that exposing our skin to the sun is bad. While I’m not advocating that you get burned to a crisp or even very red in the summer, it is essential for your body to get into the sun on a regular basis. Ideally you should just start to go pink (for very fair people this might be just 10 minutes, after a long winter indoors), then cover up. As you ease into the summer you will be able to tolerate more sun exposure … its never clever to get burned but I think it’s just as silly not to get any sun. If you are fair skinned then you need less exposure as you have less pigment to filter out the suns’ rays and access the chemical converters in your skin. If you have dark skin then you are more at risk. Genetically your ancestors came from sunnier climes where Vitamin D generation was never a problem but burned skin was, so you have more pigment and are thus more at risk of deficiency and problems with bones, like rickets for children and osteomalacia (soft bones) for adults. In recent years, other serious conditions including cancer, metabolic syndrome, infectious and autoimmune disorders have also been found to be associated with low vitamin D levels.

Vitamin D is essential –

  • Boosts the immune system! Without sufficient intake, the body’s cells are not able to react and fight off serious infections in the body.
  • Other conditions associated with vitamin D deficiency include
    • fatigue,
    • bone pain,
    • muscle pain,
    • joint pain,
    • migraines
    • Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and depression

Without the sun in Winter and much of Autumn, Spring … and Summer, how can you get the appropriate levels of Vitamin D? Some people recommend fortified foods like fortified fat spreads, breakfast cereals and powdered milk but I’m an advocate of eating whole foods whenever possible to limit the chemical load on my metabolism, so I recommend oily fish (like salmon, sardines, mackerel, herring and tuna) and eggs.

Unlike water soluble Vitamins, like Vitamin C that need regular ingestion, Vitamin D is fat soluble so it can be stored in your body. So, if you had regular sun exposure and built up a decent tan by the end of last summer then you would probably be OK for the first part of winter. But as your levels decrease, your physiology will be come increasingly effected and most noticeably, your immune system will become increasingly vulnerable to the traditional winter colds and flu.

Even if you are eating lots of eggs and oily food you are not getting enough Vitamin D and you should be looking to supplement your eating with Vitamin D.

Please take the following into consideration:

  • Get Vitamin D3 (not D2)
  • Take the tablet with fatty/oily food to help absorption or get Vit D Drops as they are oily.

Dose: Most people can tolerate a high dose of up to 250 µg/day (10000iU) but I’d go for about 100 µg/day (4000iU). Remember, kids and infants need a lower dose & check for other sources like milk formula.

Cod liver Oil is making a come back after many years but you need to take quite a bit of it to get the right dose. Cod liver Oil also has a lot of Vitamin A in it, which can get too high and cause heath problems. So best not rely on this as your main source of Vit D.

Drops versus Tablets – If you can get drops as they are more easily absorbed.

We stock Liquid Vitamin D formula: Nutri D3 Drops 1000. If you need any more info please contact Dr Timothy Wood (Chiropractor & Wellness Physiologist).