VITAMIN D – why It’s Crucial to your health.

For more than 10 years I have been crusading,  trying to get the message out there as to how VITAL this vitamin is for your health.    Scientists are now classing Vitamin D3 as a hormone –  and it’s now estimated  that around 1 billion people worldwide have low levels of  Dihydroxyvitamin (vitaminD3).

Vitamin D is a vitamin like substance that is synthesized on your skin when exposed to sunlight. If you use sunscreen, your body cannot make sufficient vitamin D – hence why I suggest (when the weather allows) exposing your skin to 15 minutes of natural sunlight well away from the midday sun.  But in winter, only the bravest  souls strip in the cold, which is why I beg of you to start supplementing Vitamin D3 daily throughout the winter  and if your circumstances allow,  taking a week’s holiday in the sun in winter can help you to increase your Vitamin D levels by as much as 20,000 iu a day!

There are several types of vitamin D, but the most common are vitamin D2  ( ergocalciferol) and D3 (cholecalciferol).   It’s the D3 that you need to help protect your bones (as it’s needed to help calcium be absorbed into your bones), boost your immune system (people who take vitamin D3 daily tend to avoid colds/ flu and swine flu). It’s also great for your lungs.

Lack of Vitamin D is also associated with SAD SYDROME; feelings of depression and lethargy are common once exposure to sunlight is reduced. This is because the body’s production of the feel good hormone serotonin lessens, whilst the pineal gland in the brain in response to reduced light produces more of the ‘sleep’ inducing hormone melatonin. This is why during the winter months, it’s crucial that you walk outside in sunshine/ full spectrum light,  to help keep up your spirits!

Most people suffering depression are low in vitamin D.  In winter, if I’m not able to expose my skin to sunshine, then I always take 1000iu of vitamin D 3 daily to help keep my immune system stronger, to support my bones, whilst also  keeping up my spirits. For anyone with gut absorption problems Vitamin D is a/v from good health stores( Bio Care make a good one)  in a liquid formula.  Omega 3 fish oils also help you to ward off any depression due to lack of natural light and they also help keep your skin looking more hydrated.  To ‘overdose’ on vitamin D you would need to be taking around 20,000iu a day over a prolonged period…  Yet lack of vitamin D now affects more than a billion people.

This is why your 1st line of Defense in the winter is to take a vitamin D 3 supplement of around 1000iu per day for adults and 600-800iu a day for children EVERY DAY. Perhaps now you understand why !!!

ADDITIONALLY  when you expose your skin to NATURAL SUNSHINE,  your body produces  a substance called  nitric oxide which is well known to help reduce high blood pressure.  The debate is growing on how much sun is safe and many scientists now believe that the benefits of taking SOME sunshine far outweigh the risks of skin cancer… Just be sensible in the sun. Avoid the midday sunshine  and allow your skin to be exposed without sunscreens for about 15-20 minutes daily when the weather allows – then apply your high factor sunscreens. Take  6mg of the Carotenoid  Astaxanthin with Phospholipids daily which have been shown to reduce the negative affects of UV light. For more information log onto the Life Extension Foundation – at www.lef.org

NB Anyone with sun sensitive conditions such as Lupus (SLE)  would need to consult their dermatologist or doctor before following this advice. Certain prescription antibiotics and drugs are also known to make you sun sensitive as is the herb St. John’s Wort.