Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, also categorised as a hormone. It is made by our bodies from cholesterol by the action of UVB from sunlight on our skin.
It helps to control the amount of calcium and phosphate in our bodies, which are needed for healthy bones, teeth and muscles.
In this country, most people should get enough UVB in the summer months if they get outside in the sun, but UVB dwindles to almost nothing from October to March.
Vitamin D3 (the type we need) is also found in oily fish (salmon, mackerel, herring and sardines), egg yolks, red meat, fat, liver and fortified foods such as some dairy products and breakfast cereals. While it is wise to eat these, we would have to consume huge amounts to get enough – thus the need for supplements.
So how much vitamin D do we need? The recommended supplementary amount of vitamin D3 from the age of one to 70 is 400 IU (10mcg) and 320-400 IU for babies.
However, many experts believe 1,000 IU or higher is more appropriate for adults.
For people with diagnosed vitamin D deficiency, the recommended maintenance therapy (after testing to ensure an optimal level has been reached) is 800 to 2,000 IU daily.
Pharmacist Shabir Daya recommends trying the Better You DLux 1,000 Spray, a sublingual spray that provides 100 doses of 1,000 IU.
Despite all the press about this vitamin, most of us have chosen to ignore the findings and hope we have sufficient levels in the bloodstream. The vitamin in question is of course Vitamin D3 and most of us are still not getting sufficient levels of this important vitamin in our bloodstream. According to the Department of Health, as much as 25% of the population is deficient in this vitamin! In reality, scientists estimate that this figure is actually low and could be nearer 60% or higher.
What is vitamin D?
Vitamin D is not strictly a vitamin. A vitamin is a compound that cannot be produced by the body and since vitamin D is produced in the skin as a result of exposure to sunlight, this is why vitamin D is more accurately described as a hormone. Although we are capable of producing vitamin D, we rarely manufacture sufficient levels due to the latitude we live in and the fact that we constantly being told to wear sunscreens which of course block sunlight. Small amounts of vitamin D is found in fortified foods including milk, cereals, oily fish and juices but this amount is too small to make any significant difference. In fact it is estimated that we would need to drink 20 glasses of milk everyday to maintain optimal levels of vitamin D! Read More…
During winter, most of us are now known to be short of vitamin D, the ‘sunshine’ vitamin, which is crucial for healthy bones and teeth. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis, type 1 diabetes, some cancers and asthma.
Although foods such as oily fish, liver, eggs and fortified cereals provide vitamin D, it is hard to get enough from diet alone. The government now advises all one- to five-year-olds, pregnant women and the elderly to take a supplement, and many experts believe everyone should do the same. Asda pharmacies are offering a free 30-day supply until the end of the year. I take Better You D Lux Spray (£7.95); try D Lux Junior Vitamin D Oral Spray for children aged five years plus (£6.25). Read More…
Q I’m pregnant and worried about vitamin D deficiency, after reading some frightening stories in the press. Is my baby at risk and do I need a supplement?
A Vitamin D is vital for building bones. Deficiency can cause rickets in children, because it impairs the absorption of dietary calcium and phosphorus. A recent study in Southampton Hospital’s orthopaedic department revealed that one in five children referred for investigation showed signs of rickets. Low levels may also affect growth, the age of walking, and tooth development. Children may be irritable, and prone to infection. Read More…