Healthspan June 13, 2018

If there’s one thing we know how to talk about in Britain, it’s the weather. And with headlines regarding vitamin D dominating the news a lot recently, weather has been a hot topic.

Why? Because vitamin D is derived through sunlight and during winter we simply don’t get enough of it to produce the required amount of vitamin D.

But if the sun does decide to show its face mid-winter and you rush outside at lunchtime to relish an hour of vitamin-D topping up time…you’ll be fine, right?

Wrong.

If you sit outside in the sun on an autumn or winter’s day the amount of vitamin D your body will obtain through the sunlight is a whopping zero. A recent poll shows 35% of office workers leave the office to get some sun – but during the winter months how many of this 35% would be shocked to discover they’re not getting any vitamin D during their lunch hour?

Because we live in Northern latitudes we cannot make sufficient vitamin D during autumn and winter months. Just like your age effects the amount of nutrients and the type of nutrients you need daily, so does where you live; and where vitamin D is concerned, this couldn’t be more accurate as 90% of your circulating vitamin D level is produced via the skin’s reaction to sunlight.

Fortification of certain foods in Northern Europe with vitamin D has become increasingly mandatory due to this extreme lack of sunlight and what you might not realise is that your body can only produce vitamin D from UVB rays when the UV index is 4 or higher – which in Britain is simply not the case during much of autumn, and all of winter.

We’re not synthesising enough vitamin D during winter and that is a fact.

A doctor’s perspective

Healthspan Medical Director Dr Sarah Brewer says, NDNS data show that 75% of the British population have intakes of vitamin D below the recommended level, and this has negative effects on bone and muscle health as well as immunity. A fifth of adults aged 19 to 64 years, and around a sixth of adults aged 65 years and over and children aged 11-18 years have low vitamin D status over the year.

Public health England recommend that everyone takes a supplement supplying 10mcg vitamin D. Many experts believe a higher dose of 25 mcg is more appropriate – especially in older age groups whose ability to make and absorb vitamin D is reduced.’ 

Why vitamin D is not just beneficial, but a necessity

Further quote from Dr. Sarah on what vitamin D does for your body ‘Vitamin D is vital for the absorption of calcium to help maintain strong bones. It is also involved in immunity, plus brain, muscle and heart health. Deficiency can lead to fatigue, recurrent infections and muscle and bone aches and pains, and increases the risk of falls and fractures in older people, for example.’

Nothing beats a healthy, balanced diet to provide all the nutrients we need. But when this isn’t possible supplements can help. This article isn’t intended to replace medical advice. Please consult your healthcare professional before trying supplements or herbal medicines.

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