Vitamin D has been everywhere in the media recently. Mainly for the immune boosting part of its skillset. There is more to Vitamin D than that it has multiple uses however what I would like to be sure is clear from the beginning is that it is as harmful to take too much Vitamin D as it is to not be taking enough! I have heard of people just continually taking Vitamin D ‘just to be sure’ but this can potenitally lead to Vitamin D toxicity which could be having the opposite effect to then one you are trying to achieve.
How Does Your Body Make Its Own Vitamin D?
Your body can make its own Vitamin D when you are in the sun, the reason it is called the ‘sunshine vitamin’ as the sun hits your skin the UVB rays react with cholesterol in your skin and et voila vitamin D is created. However over the autumn-winter in the Northern hemisphere we’re unable to do that.
This means that going into the autumn it is a good time to check (and I stress the word check) your Vitamin D levels to see where you are at at the end of the summer. Are you going into the winter will levels that are already too low?
We can store Vitamin D for 3 months, the reason for the saying ‘the winter blues’ is that at mid-winter along with the long dark nights our vitamin D levels could be at their lowest if we haven’t kept them topped up (low Vitamin D can contribute to depression) this can be another time to check your levels.
Where To Test Your Vitamin D Levels.
You don’t need to try and arrange an appointment with you GP in order to find out your Vitamin D levels. It’s a simple finger prick blood test.
This NHS lab in Birmingham offers a fantastic service. I have used them myself. It costs just £29 to get your results privately.
Vitamin D has so many uses in the body as well as helping the immune system it is really important for the health of your bones, muscles, cartilage (hence being low can contribute to joint pain) it also has anti-inflammatory properties too. The combination of these things is what helps you to stay pain-free. No one vitamin or mineral works in isolation remember. To keep things simple with Vitamin D it is also important that you have adequate K2, calcium and magnesium levels (being low in the latter two can also be a reason behind muscoskeletal pain. This is aches and pains in your bones joints and muscles and everything that attaches them together)
So How Do You Maintain Vitamin D Levels If It’s Not Sunny?
Although it isn’t as effective as being in the sun you can get Vitamin D through the foods that you eat. As you can see this is much more difficult if you are vegetarian or vegan.
- Oily fish – such as salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel.
- Red meat.
- Egg yolks free range and organic. It is important that the yolks are runny as an ingredient within them helps your body extract the goodness (lecithin) It is deactivated once the yolk is hard.
- Mushrooms e.g.shiitake.
Supplements For Vitamin D
Remember as I mentioned earlier it is important to make sure that you are not taking too much Vitamin D. If you already take a supplement check that it isn’t in there already.
Some considerations to make before you buy a Supplement.
- The recommended daily amount is 400-600iu and some supplements contain far too much. As far as your body is concerned little and often is better.
- Vitamin D can be made from lanoilin derived from sheeps wool.
- Vegan/vegetarian vitamin D is derived from lichen
- Make sure that any supplement is bioavailable/food state. Chemically dervied/unnatural supplements can create inflammation in the body.
- To some degree you get what you pay for, as mentioned above make sure it is something your body can absorb. These supplements may cost more but what is the point of saving money by buying something that isn’t doing what you want to achieve?
- It is important to have a broad and varied diet so that supplements aren’t a replacement.
- If you are doing everything right but your levels are still low then consider seeking the advice of a qualified nutritionist/systematic kinesiologist. Some supplement compaines have free nutritional advice so they could be worth and initial conversation. These companies include, Cytoplan, Nutri Advanced, Higher Nature