Why you need more Vitamin D
Vitamin D deficiency: something you might, now we’ve firmly transitioned into Autumn, be starting to think more about. Often referred to as ‘the sunshine vitamin’ as your body synthesises it when sunlight hits your skin, this hormone is understood to be vital for your energy levels and the normal functioning of your immune system.
Taking care of our health has never been more critical, but with so much advice and supplementation out there, it can undoubtedly be a complex area. This guide will outline the importance of the vitamin, the reason why everyone should be supplementing it and the various ways you can boost your levels for optimum health this winter and beyond.
What does Vitamin D do?
Its primary function is to promote calcium absorption in the gut and help maintain healthy bones. There are vitamin D receptors in almost every cell in the human body. For this reason, we know that it plays a vital role in a wide range of bodily processes, many of which remain a mystery to researchers. However, studies continue to draw links between low vitamin D levels and a variety of conditions such as depression, cancer, heart disease, cognitive decline and obesity.
Over recent years, Vitamin D has been subject to a vast amount of research for its health benefits in a variety of conditions including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, autoimmune diseases, upper respiratory tract infections and depression to name a few. In other words, there are very few areas of the body that it doesn’t reach.
How much do you need?
It’s estimated that more than 1 billion people are low in vitamin D globally, and it’s for this reason that Dr Sophie advises everyone should be supplementing the vitamin daily.
Dr Sophie is a big believer in taking high-quality nutritional supplements in addition to eating well. No matter how balanced our diets are, they’re not as nutrient-rich as they once were in the 1950s. Soil has since been depleted of nutrients, so the food we eat no longer delivers the level of vitamins and minerals that our body needs.
Dr Sophie recommends 2000-6000iu per day in the months from September to May to support immune health and overall wellness.
What happens if you’re deficient?
Compromised immunity – normalising Vitamin D is crucial for a robust immune system due to its role in interacting with infection-fighting cells. Research in the British Medical Journal has found a link between a deficiency in Vitamin D and respiratory tract infections. If you’re prone to catching colds or flu, now is the time to think about upping your intake.
Fatigue – It’s easy to blame constant tiredness on a busy lifestyle, but research now shows a strong link with low levels of Vitamin D and a lack of energy.
Bone pain – Achy bones can be a sign of insufficient levels in the blood. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium, and so a lack may cause discomfort in everyday movements.
Muscle pain – The cause of muscle pain can be difficult to pinpoint; however, one study has found that 71% of people with chronic pain were found to be deficient in the vitamin.
As many as 40% of us are low in vitamin D, and are heading for a potential deficiency. It’s time to dose up.
How can you boost your levels?
- Sunlight – Commonly referred to as the ‘sunshine vitamin’, Vitamin D’s most significant source comes from the sun. However, if you live in the UK, your intake of the ‘sunshine vitamin’ is likely insufficient from this source alone as our UV is just not strong enough to produce Vitamin D throughout most of the year.
Diet – Oily fish, eggs, mushrooms, cheese and milk are all foods that are packed with vitamin D. However, it’s not possible to get all of your required intake from food alone. The rest needs to come from sunlight and vitamin supplements.
Supplementation – Dr Sophie recommends daily consumption of 2000-6000iu of vitamin D per day, all year round or from September to May if you’re outdoors a lot in the summer months. Try the Zenii Sunshine Bottled – a high strength Vitamin D3 supplement which contains the most bioactive form of Vitamin D available.
Vitamin D injection – Before receiving an injection, you will need to undergo a blood test to confirm whether you are low in that particular vitamin and whether you have normal calcium levels. However, receiving Vitamin D in the form of an intramuscular injection is an excellent way of bringing your levels back up to where they should be if you’re deficient.
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Disclaimer: Please be aware that results and benefits may vary from patient to patient taking into consideration factors such as age, lifestyle and medical history.