Wealden Times | WT213 | November 2019 | Gift supplement inside

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Wealden Times - The lifestyle magazine for the Weald

Health & Wellbeing

Vitamin D:

How much is enough?

Henrietta Norton explains what we can do to

ensure we meet our bodies’ daily needs

One in five of us in the UK are

estimated to have insufficient

blood levels of Vitamin D for good

health; we simply can’t produce enough of

it from sunshine alone and especially those

of us in Northern Europe. The half-life of

this vitamin is 3-6 weeks, so even gathered

stores over the summer rapidly decline by the

time we get to the deeper winter months.

Additionally, sunscreens, longer office

working hours, medications such as statins

and our age can affect our levels further.

Our dietary habits have changed somewhat

too and Vitamin D rich foods such as oily

fish and whole-fat dairy as part of our

daily diets have fallen out of favour.

The Department of Health recommends

that everyone over the age of four should take

10 micrograms (400iu) of vitamin D every

day, particularly from October to March.

All pregnant, breastfeeding women and atrisk

groups should take a daily supplement

containing 10 micrograms (400iu) of an

easily absorbed form of Vitamin D. However,

consider that many people in the UK do not get

good access to consistent sunlight due to work

(offices) and typical British summer weather.

All babies from birth up to one year of age

should take 8.5 to 10 micrograms (340iu to

400iu) of vitamin D per day (particularly

those being breastfed). Babies fed infant

formula will not need vitamin drops until

they are receiving less than 500ml (about

a pint) of infant formula a day, as these

products are fortified with vitamin D.

Children between the age of one

and four should take 10 micrograms of

vitamin D supplements all year round.

People aged 65 years and over and people

not exposed to much sun should also

take a daily supplement containing 10

micrograms (400iu) of vitamin D.

Why do I need vitamin D? Virtually every

cell in the body has a vitamin D receptor,

which, when bound to this vitamin, can

influence the expression of more than 200

genes. Previous concerns about vitamin

D deficiency have been associated with poor

bone health, most notably the development

of rickets, a condition which is again on

the increase according to national statistics.

However, the observations from the most

recent large cohort studies have unravelled

other key physiological roles of it and a

causative relationship between vitamin D

deficiency and an increased risk of cancers,

pre-eclampsia, diabetes, CVD, autoimmune

diseases, autism and the flu.

What vitamin D supplements should we

use? Choose wisely, opting for high-quality

well-absorbed forms. More natural food

forms provide both the active and stored

forms, ready for your body to use easily.

A study conducted showed that Food-

Grown® vitamin D includes both the ‘stored’

(25-hydroxy) and biologically ‘active’ (1-25

hydroxy) forms of vitamin D3. The body

will always need to convert any ‘stored’ form

of vitamin D3 into the ‘active’ form for it to

do its various jobs like supporting calcium

absorption. This makes supplementing

in the ‘active’ form preferential. A highly

absorbable and biologically active form may

also minimize the need for ‘mega-dosing’.

Don’t be tempted to think more means

more. You should always check with a

qualified nutritionist / nutritional therapist

if you are unsure what dose to take. As

with many nutrients, vitamin D follows a

U-shaped curve, meaning that high levels

can be just as problematic for health as low

levels. An excessive intake is associated with

increased risk of cardiovascular disease, kidney

stones and low bone density. The latter is

especially important to recognize as many

will self-diagnosis with high strength vitamin

D supplements to reduce osteoporosis

risk but may, in fact, be encouraging the

‘leaching’ of important nutrients for bone

density out of the bone matrix. Look for

supplements with your recommended daily

allowance and better absorption instead. I

formulated Wild Nutrition Food-Grown®

Vitamin D range for this reason.

Vitamin D rich foods

Seafood – Seafood is one

1 of the best sources. If

you eat fish, aim to have two

or three portions per week.

Choose trout, halibut, sardines,

herring, salmon and mackerel.

2Whole milk – Organic

full-fat milk contains much

more than semi-skimmed milk

and is less likely to have had

anything added or removed.

Unfortunately, the most popular

form of milk is semi-skimmed,

which contains significantly lower

amounts of fat-soluble vitamins.

3Eggs – Eggs are a great source

and are so versatile and easy

to make. Ensure you eat the yolk

as this is where you’ll find it.

Mushrooms – Some

4 mushrooms have the ability

to produce vitamin D when

exposed to sunlight. The normal

button mushrooms you find in

the supermarket will contain

very little of this. Opt for a

selection of portobello, maitake,

morel, chanterelle and oyster

mushrooms for a higher content.

Avoid foods that have been

artificially fortified. Instead, opt

for food that contains vitamin

D naturally from the list above.

To understand your individual

need, consider getting the

guidance of a well-trained

nutritional therapist or

functional medicine practitioner

or requesting a Vitamin D

blood test with your GP. Our

team of Qualified Nutritional

therapists at Wild Nutrition

are on hand to offer advice

enquiries@wildnutrition.

com or call on 01273 477898.

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