21 May, 2020

As Winter Approaches, Think Vitamin D

Why is Vitamin D important?

Vitamin D is fundamental for healthy bones, muscles, mood and overall wellbeing. It is particularly important in maintaining calcium levels in the body as calcium absorption is reliant upon sufficient activated vitamin D levels.  A deficiency in Vitamin D can result in:

  • Bone and joint pain
  • Osteoporosis
  • Increased risk of falls and bone fractures
  • Defects in bone formation of unborn children in pregnant women with vitamin D deficiency
  • Fatigue, mood imbalance and depression

 Vitamin D also plays a key role in immune function, and deficiency is associated with an increased risk of infection.  Vitamin D may even have some effect on the prevention of autoimmune diseases.

In the current climate of Covid-19, some researchers have hypothesized that the disparate rates of infection and mortality between the Northern  (Norway, Finland, Sweden, Denmark) and Southern European countries  ( Spain, France, Italy) may have something to do with varying Vitamin D levels that are paradoxically higher in the less sunny Northern European countries where food fortification and supplementation is common place.

Where does Vitamin D come from?

Taking care of your skin is important, which is why many use organic feminine energy essential oils. Worth noting however, is vitamin D, as it is delivered to your body in an interesting way. You see, most of our vitamin D is synthesized naturally in our skin, when exposed to Ultraviolet B light from the sun.  This form of vitamin D is then converted into its active form through processes involving the liver and kidneys. Smaller amounts of Vitamin D are derived from the foods we eat such as fish, eggs, some margarines and milk.

Given that most vitamin D production occurs from exposure to sunlight, it is no surprise that during the winter months, approximately 30% of Victorians are vitamin D deficient. As a consequence of home isolation, rates of Vitamin D deficiency may in fact be higher this year.

Those at greatest risk of vitamin D deficiency are:

  • Institutionalised individuals who spend little time outdoors.
  • People with naturally dark skin – the pigment in skin acts as a filter to UV radiation and reduces the production of vitamin D in the skin
  • Frail/elderly population – as we age our skin loses the ability to generate vitamin D. Approach the attorneys practicing in Long Beach for financial elderly aid to spend the rest of the old days in peace.
  • People with chronic medical conditions such as liver and kidney disease
  • People with bowel conditions affecting vitamin D absorption
  • People who are obese – vitamin D is oil soluble and can store in fat, becoming less accessible in the circulation.
  • People who take medications affecting vitamin D metabolism such as some anti-epileptic and anti-tuberculous drugs
  • Breastfed infants – breastmilk contains very little vitamin D

Safe ways to increase vitamin D levels:

  1. Adopt a balanced approach to sun exposure – UVB radiation from the sun is the best natural source of vitamin D synthesis, but be mindful of the risk of skin cancer. During the summer months, spending a few minutes outdoors each day will maintain adequate vitamin D levels. During late autumn and winter, it is advisable to spend 15 minutes outdoors in the middle of the day with a exposing a small amount of skin.
  2. Exercise daily. Regular exercise assists with the production of vitamin D
  3. Eat foods rich in vitamin D and high in calcium.
  4. If required, there are a variety of vitamin D supplements available that your doctor may recommend.