Vitamin D - We’ve all heard of it but what exactly is it and why is it so important?

April 3rd, 2021
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is essential in many bodily functions, including cell growth and repair, muscular control, reducing inflammation, mood balancing, and immune response. It’s such an essential component in day to day life and yet so many of us are living with our Vitamin D stores running on low or empty.

Vitamin D deficiency is exceedingly common with more than 1/5 adults and children in the UK suffering from it. The symptoms of this are pretty diverse and include fatigue, diffuse aches and pains, muscle weakness, poor recovery from injuries, low mood, and generally feeling under the weather. Sound familiar? Then you might be Vitamin D deficient.

How do we normally get our Vitamin D?
We can absorb Vitamin D from certain foods, such as fatty fish like salmon, prawns, mackerel, red meat such as liver, egg yolks and fortified foods such as cereals but this isn’t always a straightforward process and you may struggle to absorb sufficient amounts if:

•    You have underlying digestive tract problems that may prevent you from absorbing it, such as Crohn’s or Coeliac disease.
•    If you have a BMI over 30. Extra fat cells essentially hold Vitamin D hostage. Fat cells absorb Vitamin D and reduce the volume released into the bloodstream meaning less is available for bodily functions.
•    You have poor kidney function. The kidneys are required to convert Vitamin D to an active form in the body. With an underlying kidney condition or with age-related reduction in function, the kidney’s ability to convert Vitamin D is reduced and therefore there is less active Vitamin D available.

Vitamin D can also be produced by exposure to the sun, we can produce 500 mcg (Micrograms) in a 30 minute period of midday sun exposure. However, during the Winter or Spring months where the sun is a little more shy (from around October- April in the UK) it is impossible for our skin to synthesise Vitamin D from sunlight.

Production of Vitamin D from sunlight can be further affected by:
•    Darker pigmented skin. Some ethnicities with darker skin have a higher melanin content which reduces the skin’s ability to produce Vitamin D from sunlight.
•    Wearing moisturiser with SPF (Sun protection factor). Lotions and moisturisers also prevent Vitamin D production.
•    Being Mature in years. Beyond the age of 60 our body’s ability to produce Vitamin D is vastly reduced and additional supplementation is almost always recommended.

All this information is especially relevant in the current lockdown situation, where we perhaps aren’t eating as cleanly as we were before and where time outside is drastically restricted, meaning we are much more likely to be Vitamin D deficient at the moment. This has led to UK’s Public Health boards recommending we all get a little extra help with our Vitamin D levels during this time.

Vitamin D Supplementation is an easy, efficient, and affordable way of topping up our Vitamin D levels for optimum health. Vitamin D supplements can come in tablet or liquid form and are readily available online and in good health food stores.

The easiest and safest way to know if you are deficient is to invest in a £29 blood test to check your baseline levels and tailor your supplement dosage from this.

The website www.vitamindtest.org.uk provides an at-home, finger-prick blood tests, which give an accurate measure of your current Vitamin D levels.
If you have any underlying kidney complaints or a history of Sarcoidosis, you should check with your GP before starting any supplement regime to make sure it is appropriate for you.

Why should we bother supplementing?
As we spoke about above, Vitamin D is essential in numerous body functions and as a result, there are literally TONNES of research regarding the health benefits of sufficient Vitamin D levels circulating in the body

Studies have linked low Vitamin D levels to a significant increase in depressive disorders and conversely have shown increasing Vitamin D levels, especially in those who are significantly reduced, can be successfully used as a treatment for depression. As if this wasn’t enough reason to increase your Vitamin D levels, it is also essential for the absorption of Calcium. Too little Vitamin D in our bodies means we are less likely to absorb Calcium from our diets so instead we start to steal it from our bones. This leads to thinning of bones (osteopenia) and increases the risk of fractures in adults.

In children, this thinning of bones is commonly seen as bending of the leg bones, known as rickets. Vitamin D is also crucial in our bodies natural immune response and studies published in recent months show supplementation of it can reduce the risk of acute respiratory infections and influenza type illnesses.

In such uncertain times, it is important to take small steps to keep ourselves as healthy as possible. Eating a varied balanced diet and taking regular exercise in addition to checking our Vitamin D levels is a great way of keeping ourselves as happy and healthy as possible.

How we can help at Well Adjusted Health - Chiropractic care can be used to identify and remedy common musculoskeletal issues that cause pain.  We can help you identify the root cause of any pain you are experiencing and devise a treatment plan to address it. For more information contact our clinic today

Well Adjusted Health on 01903 892171

You can also book a Free 15 minute consultation for you or your family.

Full PPE worn and thorough sanitisation of practice between every patient.

For more information on simple stretches and exercises you can do at home, visit: https://chiropractic-uk.co.uk/straighten-up-uk/

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