News & Events

The Ultimate Winter Pick-Me-Up

  • Date: 08/02/2017
  • By: Brett Thompson

Vitamin D – Why we need more

It`s called the “sunshine vitamin” for a good reason, it’s produced in your skin in response to sunlight. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin in a family of compounds that includes vitamins D-1, D-2, and D-3 and can affect as many as 2,000 genes in the body.

Why we`re deficient in it.

Unlike any other nutrient we can’t get enough vitamin D from food alone no matter how well we eat. Instead we make it from sunshine which means the further away from the Equator we live and the more time we spend indoors the higher the risk of deficiency.

The reality is that if you live north of Birmingham it is impossible to make vitamin D from October to March and even in the most southerly parts of Britain there is not enough sunlight to synthesise it for around three months during the winter.

Working indoors also undermines our ability to build up the reserves needed to get through the winter because even at the height of summer there are only four hours a day from 11am to 3pm when it is bright enough to make vitamin D

Uses and benefits.
Vitamin D has several important functions. Perhaps the most vital are regulating the absorption of calcium and phosphorous (vital for bone health and our organ systems) and facilitating normal immune system function. Getting a sufficient amount of vitamin D is important for normal growth and development of bones and teeth, as well as improved resistance against certain diseases and providing you with energy.

  • Fights disease
  • Fights depression
  • Boosts weight loss
  • Boosts energy levels

How do you get it?
Your body produces vitamin D naturally when it is directly exposed to sunlight. A little can go a long way. All you need is 10 minutes a day of midday, pre-sunscreen sun exposure, especially if you have fair skin. Many lifestyle and environmental factors can affect your ability to get sufficient amounts of vitamin D through the sun alone. These factors include:

  • Pollution
  • Use of sunscreen
  • Spending more time indoors
  • Living in big cities where buildings block sunlight
  • Having darker skin.

These factors contribute to vitamin D deficiency in an increasing number of people especially if you live in a country that has a low amount of sun year round like England. That’s why it’s important to get some of your vitamin D from sources besides sunlight.
The symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency in adults can include: general tiredness, aches and pains, and a general sense of not feeling well.

What to do if you’re deficient.

You can get tested if you wish but implementing the simple advice in this article should make sure you boost your vitamin D intake through sunlight and the foods you eat, examples being:

  • Oily fish
  • Red meat(from animals grazed outdoors)
  • Egg yolks
  • Shrimps
  • Leafy green vegetables

I hope this helps you have a little more of an understanding of the importance of Vitamin D especially through the winter months

 

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