Are you getting enough?

As the days become shorter and we head into winter my mind turns to the lack of sun and what that may mean…. insufficient vitamin D.
Vitamin D3 is made by our skin on exposure to UV-B light. Several factors reduce our ability to synthesise vitamin D from sun exposure including living in far northern and southern latitudes, having dark skin, increasing age, indoor and city living and the use of sunscreen.
Why do we need vitamin D? There are a number of diseases associated with insufficient vitamin D levels, namely rickets (in children) and osteomalacia (in adults), diabetes & metabolic syndrome, hypertension, cognitive disorders, depression, increased risk of cardiac disease, pre-eclampsia, MS, prematurity & low birth weight babies, decreased resistance to infection & various cancers.
What are the consequences of too little? According to Dr Robert Heaney, who has studied this vitamin for over 50 years, vitamin D deficiency is epidemic at all ages and contributes to impairment of all body defense systems.
What should I do? Take a simple blood test to establish your vitamin D status.  Some GPs will do the test although many are reluctant as vitamin D deficiency is recognised to be widespread (90% of the general UK population according to the 2008 National Diet and Nutrition Survey). However, I think it’s important to know your D status as it will dictate the amount of supplementation required, otherwise you may be wasting money.
How much should I take? 75iu per day per kilo of body weight should be enough to maintain the necessary level. This applies to children as well as adults. However, if your test indicates deficiency it will be necessary to take between 2,000iu and 10,000iu daily short term to rectify, depending on your age and life stage.
Which supplement should I choose? Not all supplements are equal. Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is the natural form and is easier for the body to use, rather than D2 (ergocalciferol). For ease of flexible dosing for all the family I would suggest a liquid form such as BioCare BioMulsion D.  One drop provides 1,000iu.
Where can I get it? From The Nutri Centre on 0845 602 7197, practitioner no: ZZCSW010 (Quote practitioner no. to receive a discount).
Supplementing yourself and your family with vitamin D may be the single most significant health benefit you achieve this winter.

Written by

Claudia Williamson Registered Nutritional Therapist DipION, FdSc, mBANT, mCHNC Tunbridge Wells, Kent