Vitamin D is all over the news at the moment, with medical studies taking place worldwide to determine the extent of its effect on Covid-19 patients. Whether it can ease symptoms of the virus or not, following a survey that highlighted how one in five Brits are deficient in vitamin D, Simon Bandy of natural health specialists Veganicity, gives us his top 10 reasons why we really should be stocking up on the ‘sunshine vitamin’ this winter:
1 It can reduce depression: there’s no doubt that 2020 has been a tough year for all of us, and medical staff are now expecting mental health issues to increase significantly, knowing that we will continue to see the effects of COVID-19 for a long time into the future. Vitamin D can play a vital role in regulating our mood and warding off depression so, as the darker, longer days creep in over winter, it’s the perfect time to dose up.
2 It can boost weight loss. It’s thought that the extra calcium the body gets from taking vitamin D supplements can have appetite-supressing effects—handy given that two in three Brits admitted they piled on the pounds during the first stages of lockdown.
3 It can benefit those bones. Vitamin D ensures the body can absorb calcium, potassium and magnesium, all which help to keep bones and teeth strong and help prevent osteoporosis—a disease that affects over 3 million people in the UK.
4 It can help support lung function and reduce respiratory illnesses: while there are still various medical trials being undertaken around the world, especially given the current pandemic and its effects on the respiratory symptom, many researchers have already shown that having low levels of vitamin D in the body correlates with illnesses such as bronchitis and asthma, and symptoms including wheezing and chest tightness.
5 It can help regulate the body’s insulin levels. According to Diabetes.co.uk, Vitamin D is believed to help improve the body’s sensitivity to insulin—the hormone responsible for regulating blood sugar levels— and thus reduce the risk of insulin resistance, which is often a precursor to type 2 diabetes, something that affects one in ten people over 40 in the UK.
6 It can help promote a healthy pregnancy. Vitamin D is especially important in pregnancy as it helps your baby’s bones, teeth, kidneys, heart and nervous system to develop. Furthermore, some studies suggest that pregnant women who have a vitamin D deficiency may have a higher risk of developing preeclampsia and giving birth preterm.
7 It can help prevent falls. While Vitamin D is essential for bone development, many people don’t know that it can improve muscle strength and neural functionality too, thus reducing the risk of falls. This can be particularly beneficial for the older generation who are frailer and more susceptible to fractures.
8 It could reduce the risk of getting cancer. While the UK medical profession is still sceptical about this claim, a study in Japan did show that higher levels of vitamin D in the blood are linked to a lower risk of cancer, especially liver cancer.
9 It can help us avoid catching the common cold or flu. A study suggested that taking vitamin D supplements could reduce the chances of catching seasonal flu, as one of the vitamin’s most important roles is keeping your immune system strong so you’re able to fight off the viruses and bacteria that cause illness.
10 It can give you a boost of energy. Constantly feeling tired, especially during the winter months, is one of the leading symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency, however, it is often overlooked as a cause. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is thought to affect over 2 million people in the UK, yet vitamin D supplements are an easy and inexpensive way of reducing symptoms.
Simon said: “We get most of our vitamin D from sunlight on our skin and from certain foods. Given that most of us will spend a lot more time indoors now, people really should be making sure they get enough of this vital vitamin.
“From October to early March in the UK, we simply cannot get enough vitamin D from sunlight. While it is found in some foods such as oily fish, red meat, eggs and some fortified spreads and cereals, vegetarians and vegans are particularly at risk from vitamin D deficiency as these foods don’t form part of their diet.
“The dosage everyone should take will depend on their age, skin colour, descent and living conditions, but the average for those over one year old is 10 micrograms a day. You should always check with your doctor if you are unsure or think you have a severe deficiency.”
The Veganicity Vitamin D Complex supplement provides the optimum daily intake in one easy-to-take small tablet. Available from www.veganicity.com, www.Amazon.co.uk and all good independent health shops nationwide, £8.45 for 90 tablets (approx. 3 month supply).