The sunshine vitamin!

Vitamin D is often referred to as the “sunshine vitamin” due to its ability to be absorbed by the body through sunlight. Vitamin D is a hormone that controls calcium levels in the blood and helps build strong bones, regulates immune and muscle function, and contributes to overall health. It is associated with bones and we know that vitamin D deficiency can cause rickets.

Living in the UK we do not get that much sun and so most people have low levels of vitamin D as our body produces vitamin D naturally when it is directly exposed to sunlight. Akin to squirrels, our skin stores vitamin D away for the winter, having ideally been exposed to sufficient UVB rays during the summer months in order to make vitamin D. However, the further you travel from the equator, the less vitamin D you make.

We are at our lowest ebbs in the northern hemisphere from November to March, when we’re reliant on food sources, (in countries such as Canada it’s mandatory for all dairy milk to be fortified with vitamin D to keep general levels up, but so far this isn’t something that the UK does), supplements and what we’ve built up already, which, if you’ve experienced a British “summer”, may not be abundant. 

Did you know that vitamin D is the only vitamin your body makes itself (and it is actually a hormone!)? Vitamin D is the most undervalued nutrient in the world, since most people assume they are getting enough from the sun.

According to the NHS, from about late March/early April to the end of September, the majority of people should be able to make all the vitamin D they need from sunlight on their skin. However, having spoken to medical professionals a lot of people in the UK will not be getting enough vitamin D and it is estimated that 1 in 5 people will be deficient.

I spend quite a lot of time outside however as I have pale skin as soon as the sun is out, I often cover up therefore limiting the amount of skin exposed to the sun.

I have never been one for sunbathing and when we do have a sunny spell in England it is often too hot for me so I will either stay inside or in the shade covered up! This may or may not explain why I recently discovered that I am deficient in vitamin D and am now taking supplements.

I wasn’t aware of the benefits of vitamin D until I found out I was deficient, and it turns out there are a lot more than you realise!

Did you know that vitamin D can help strengthen muscles, support the immune system, and fight inflammation, help strengthen oral health, help prevent Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes and help treat hypertension?

Most interesting for me is that vitamin D can also help you lose weight and help battle depression! What if all these years all I have needed is some vitamin D?!  

I have only been taking supplements for a few weeks, but I am certainly intrigued to see if I notice any difference by taking them. Admittedly it will be hard to tell as I am trying to lose weight anyway and I am on a low dose of antidepressants, but we will see!

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