Vitamin D deficiency is a global health problem with almost 50% of the population worldwide not getting enough.
The implications of this are worrying. Not only does Vitamin D play an important role in bone metabolism and maintaining bone health, it also helps prevent chronic diseases such as autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular diseases and certain cancers and can help reduce depression. Recent research also suggests that it can effectively help weight loss which can also play a key role in achieving optimal health.
So how do we get Vitamin D?
Well, we get very small amounts through our diet but it is extremely difficult to get enough through food alone; you would need to eat 143 eggs to get an adequate days supply. We do also synthesise it through our skin when we are exposed to sunlight which is why it is often referred to as the ‘sunshine vitamin’. But in an era when we have all been programmed to ‘apply the sunscreen’ at even the first glimpse of the sun, our Vitamin D levels are falling.
So how do you know if you are deficient?
The ideal way is to get your blood tested at the GP and supplement accordingly but this, of course, isn’t always practical. I, therefore, usually advise that most of my clients do supplement to some degree depending on how much sun exposure they get. National guidelines tend to fall short on recommended levels but evidence-based research suggests that somewhere between 2500-4000IU a day is a good rule of thumb. You are probably more likely to require a higher dose during the winter months.
How often should you take it?
Vitamin D is actually a fat soluble vitamin which means that it remains in your system for some time. You therefore do not need to supplement every day, you can take a cumulative dose weekly or monthly so there is no need to panic if you forget for a few days – just make up for it when you do.
What is the best form of Vitamin D?
As it is a fat soluble vitamin, it is also better absorbed when consumed with a fat source. Most tablet forms of Vitamin D have fat added so these are the best versions to take but a nose spray is also very effective and it all comes down to personal preference; choose the method that you will stick with.
So, if you aren’t already then start investing in some Vitamin D NOW! If you like some more guidance or a brand recommendation then please contact me.
This was brought to you by Rebecca Flannery, Evidence-based Nutritionist.