Last Saturday was sunny, and just about warm enough for everyone to do their British Summertime thing: shorts, flip flops, vest tops, sunglasses. I chuckled to myself (still wearing boots and a winter coat) and was glad of my layers as I sat outside a pub fending off a chilly March breeze.
In the UK it’s generally sunny but cold, or warm and muggy with a heavy layer of cloud. Or it’s just cold and grey. It’s not that often we get the opportunity to bare our skin to the sunshine.
As a result, around half the population are Vitamin D deficient.
Your doctor won’t tell you this
I had some blood tests done a while back to find out the cause of some unexplained symptoms. The doctor assured me everything was “normal”. I scrutinised the results and saw that my Vitamin D levels were marked as low. When I questioned this he told me: “Half the UK population have low Vitamin D levels” as if that made it alright. So what the doctor regards as normal is not a healthy level, but a level that is averagely bad. I told him that deficiency being “normal” does not make it OK and set about fixing the problem.
Reasons why it matters
Lack of Vitamin D has been associated with Multiple Sclerosis, heart disease, autism, musculoskeletal pain, obesity, lupus, changes in thyroid hormones, gastro-intestinal and ear infections, poor muscle development in children, and many more problems.
Research is ongoing, but the message is clear. Vitamin D is essential and without it our health will suffer.
Many up-to-date reports are available from the Vitamin D Council www.vitamindcouncil.org
How much do I need?
The UK recommended daily allowances for vitamins tend to be a lot lower than the recommendations given in Canada, Australia or the USA. Likewise, over-the-counter supplements tend to offer fairly low dosages.
Excellent guidelines are given here – scroll down to “Recommended daily intakes”: https://www.vitamindcouncil.org/about-vitamin-d/how-do-i-get-the-vitamin-d-my-body-needs/
According to these guidelines, 2,000 to 4,000 IU (international units) per day is the average recommended amount, that is 50 to 100 mcg (microgrammes) per day.
If you’re a person who doesn’t get out much, or feels the cold and wears a lot of layers, or if you have dark skin, you are more likely to have lower levels of Vitamin D in your body and need to take a larger amount as a supplement.
If you want to get tested, try your GP, and if that doesn’t work there are home kits available https://www.vitamindcouncil.org/about-vitamin-d/testing-for-vitamin-d/
Where can I get some?
2 a day of these tablets will provide your 100 mcg http://silverray.eu.nspshop.com/vitamin_d
Vitamin D is fat-soluble, so you must take them with some fatty or oily food. A piece of buttered toast will do.
Your thoughts please!
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