Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Day 2933 - The need for vitamin D

How often do you get outside in the sun?


We are a family of sun bunnies.  Rightly or wrongly, you'll find us standing in the sunshine rather than hiding in the shade. 

Don't get me wrong, we take care of ourselves via sunscreen and hats (for the most part), but on the whole we'd prefer to be out in it absorbing that Vitamin D.



It turns out that despite the skin cancer risks, our love of sunshine is a good thing.

We already know that Vitamin D is good for mental health, healthy bones, the absorption of calcium and phosphorus and facilitating normal immune system function.  Getting a good whack of "Vitamin Sunshine" is apparently important for the development of bones and teeth, as well as improved resistance against some diseases.

Recent research has also shown that getting good quantities of Vitamin D into us can lower our risk of early menopause which means we get to keep those healthy female hormones in our body for longer.  This decreases our risk of heart disease and osteoporosis. 

In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Harvard researchers looked at 200,000 women and found that those with good dietary Vitamin D had a 17% lower risk of early menopause. 

Another study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that Vitamin D can reduce the risk of multiple sclerosis.  Other studies have seen it decrease the chance of developing heart disease and can also reduce he risk of getting the flu. 

It's also been recognised as an important part of combating depression plus in a study of people with fibromyalgia researchers discovered that patients experiencing depression and anxiety were more likely to have a deficiency in Vitamin D.  Maybe this explains my winter blues and my constant search for sunnier pastures?

Our Vitamin D deficiencies can be caused by using sunscreen, staying indoors, high pollution and living in built up areas (high rises block out the sun).  But we can combat that by not just relying on the sun to give us our fill of the big D. 

I've read that foods such as salmon, sardines, egg, prawns, cheese, milk and orange juice (fortified) contain some levels of Vitamin D.  Supplements are also now available to assist.

Some symptoms of a Vitamin D deficiency might include fatigue, aches, general unwellness and severe bone/muscle pain.  (Basically the symptoms of fibromyalgia.)  

So I guess the bottom line is we still need to spend time in the sun, but the trick is to find the right amount of sun exposure that's good for our health.  We need to somehow capture the goodness while remaining protected from too much UV. 

It's all about finding the right balance.

Do you need more Vitamin D?

How much time do you spend in the sun? 



Note: I am not a doctor, dietitian or nutritionist. I do however do a lot of reading in my pursuit of ageing positively.

Information sources:  Prevention Australia Magazine Oct/Nov 2017, www.telethonkids.org.au, www.healthline.com and www.webmd.com

2 comments :

  1. I got tested almost a decade ago (when I was trying to get pregnant) and my Vitamin D levels were low. I don't go out in the sun much, get hot easily and hate the heat. My doctor decided against any supplements at the time though as it wasn't too bad. I figured my brief walk to the bus / train in the morning and after work (if still light) was enough time in the sun!

    Having said that, as I grew up in the late 70s and 80s I used to plaster myself in coconut oil and try to get as brown as possible. The number of times I got bad sunburns was ridiculous!

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  2. I probably don't get enough vitamin D (I live in England where the sun doesn't always shine) but I do get out every day "into the light". I don't tend to take supplements but probably should - I am still not convinced that they work though.

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