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Vitamin D….why you need it and how do you get it?

sunshine If like me, your body has not been exposed to direct sunlight for a good few months and the sight of snow and darkness has been your forte, you could be lacking in Vitamin D.

The most natural way of acquiring vitamin D is through the sun and your body will self regulate the amount you need, however this is not a luxury if you live in the northern hemisphere.

A study published in June 2008 concluded that 50-60% of people could be vitamin D deficient. The contributing factors for this could be urbanisation, pollution, lack of sun exposure and less outdoor activity.

Why do we need Vitamin D?

The evidence is overwhelming and vitamin D plays a vital role in breast and other cancer prevention.  Low levels of vitamin D have been correlated with heart disease and heart attacks and it boosts the immune system. Receptors that respond to vitamin D have been found in almost every human cell ranging from brain to bones and researchers are finding health benefits of vitamin D in every area they look.

How do you increase your levels of vitamin D without the risk of solar radiation?

Supplementation is a safe way of increasing your levels, and the type of supplement you have to look out for is Vitamin D3.  Cholecalciferol is the natural occurring vitamin D and is made in large quantities when sunlight hits the bare skin.

The amount you need to take really depends from person to person and this can be determined by a 25 hydroxy vitamin D blood test. If your blood levels are low, use supplementation for six weeks and then retest.

The optimal levels of 25(OH)D is between 50 and 70 ng/ml, summer and winter.

Vitamin D from cod liver oils is not a good source because some cod live oils contain toxic amounts of vitamin A which antagonizes vitamin D.  

People who have regular sun exposure all year round don’t have to supplement. For children under the age of two it is recommended to take 1,000 IU per day, over the age of two, 2,000 IU per day. Healthy adolescents and adults between 80 pounds and 130 pounds should start with 3,000 IU per day and those over 130 pounds (35kg) but less than 170 pounds (75kg) should take 4,000 IU per day.

With the lack of sun exposure for months on end and the distant memory of your last holiday in Cape Cod it might be a good idea to have your vitamin D status checked out. Make an appointment today with one of our qualified practitioners in order to have the test done and suitable recommendations can be made tailored to your needs.

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