My Natural Health Blog

Are you getting enough VITAMIN D?

Vitamin DWhat is it exactly?

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is in fact, a hormone. It’s often referred to as the ‘sunshine vitamin’, as when skin is exposed to ultra violet rays from the sun, it stimulates the skin to synthesize or ‘photolyze’ vitamin D. Sunlight is our main source of vitamin D, however there are some foods which provide small amounts; such as oily fish, lean meats, dairy and eggs. Cod liver oil also provides some vitamin D. (something past generations have ‘spooned’ into their children religiously!)

 

Are Deficiencies Common?

Vitamin D deficiencies are actually quite common due to a number of factors:

1. The widespread use of sunscreens/sunblock.                                                                                                                                    2. ‘Covering up’; including those who dress for cultural or religious reasons                                                                              3. People who lead sedentary or indoor based lifestyles.                                                                                                                  4. People who have an increased need for vitamin D for example the elderly or pregnant.                                                  5. People with dark skin are more likely to have a vitamin D deficiency.                                                                                           6. Air pollution.                                                                                                                                                                                               7. Poor diet

 

What does Vitamin D do for us?

Vitamin D works together with a number of vitamins and minerals and plays an important role in many vital functions within the body.

Bone Health & Calcium Metabolism: Vitamin D is crucial to help mineralise the bones by improving calcium & phosphorus absorption in the gut. This is why it’s so important to ensure you are getting enough vitamin D. Low levels are associated with bone deformities such as rickets, growing pains, muscle and bone pain, osteoporosis, and also tooth decay.

Immune Health: Vitamin D is essential for a competent and responsive immune system. It supports the body to fight off bacteria and viruses. If you find yourself suffering with recurrent infections, vitamin D is very worthy of your consideration.

Where there is a deficiency of vitamin D, the immune response can be slow. Studies have found a link between children who are deficient in vitamin D and an increased incidence and severity of infections, including respiratory infections.

Allergies: A deficiency of vitamin D has also been associated with an inappropriate immune response by the body, which may lead to food and environmental allergies. These can present as skin conditions, affect the respiratory system, or they may present as tummy upsets. Behaviour can also be significantly affected by allergies.

Mood & brain development: There is a known link between low levels of sunlight during the winter and the development of depression and mood disorders. Adequate vitamin D levels are important for memory and learning, motor control, and social behaviour; vitamin D is thought to affect proteins in the brain which are involved in these functions.

The lack of Vitamin D in a persons’ diet has long been recognised as playing a significant role in osteoporosis and rickets, but more recently it has also been shown to be associated with some more serious chronic health conditions. Depression, cancer, heart disease and some inflammatory disorders to name a few. There is also some NZ research which suggests that vitamin D is required to support healthy blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity.

 A deficiency of this incredibly important vitamin/hormone can have far reaching effects on many levels throughout the body; at any age, and across all ethnicities. If you’re concerned about whether you’re getting enough vitamin D to support optimal health, speak to your Health practitioner.

 

 

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