The ABC of Vitamin D – and why science wants you to have more of it
It supports immune function, skin health and weight control – but 74% of people in the UK have below optimum levels of Vitamin D. This month we explore the miracle of the sunshine vitamin and reveal easy ways to get more of it.
Vitamin D and COVID-19
Vitamin D hit the front pages of the nation’s redtops during the first lockdown. The revelation was that taking a Vitamin D supplement could reduce the risk of developing severe respiratory infections caused by COVID-19.
But this wasn’t necessarily new information. Since as far back as the 1920s, Vitamin D has been linked to improved immune function and reduced risk of respiratory illness. But then again, Vitamin D seems to be the miracle vitamin that we simply love to ignore.
New research from Forth – in collaboration with the NHS – indicates that over one-fifth of males and one-quarter of females in the UK has low or borderline-low levels of Vitamin D. And a whopping 74% of us have levels of Vitamin D that are below the optimum needed for wellbeing.
What does Vitamin D actually do?
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that controls – among other things – the absorption of calcium. Deficiency is associated with hair loss, fatigue, muscle pain, recurrent infections and bone pain. Appropriate levels of Vitamin D, meanwhile, contribute to normal function of the immune system, stronger bones and teeth, healthy skin and improved resistance to certain diseases. Studies have even shown that Vitamin D can reduce depression and support weight management.
How much Vitamin D do you need?
The NHS recommends taking 10μg (micrograms) of Vitamin D per day. That’s equivalent to 400 IU (International Units). The Vitamin D Council, however, recommends 125μg (5,000 IU) per day.
To stay safe and sound, it’s recommended to stick to a maximum of 100μg (4,000 IU) per day. Too much Vitamin D can lead to Vitamin D toxicity, which is a very rare but potentially serious condition.
What are the best sources of Vitamin D?
In a frankly mindboggling feat of biochemical engineering, your body’s skin manufactures Vitamin D after exposure to sunlight. And while Spring is officially here (and not a moment too soon) from the 20th March, we’re still a little way off the long, sun-soaked days of summer. Even then, many people struggle to find time to get enough safe sun exposure to keep the Vitamin D tank topped up.
In terms of dietary choices, there aren’t many options for taking on Vitamin D. Eggs are an okay source. Beyond that you’re looking at salmon, sardines, mackerel, kippers, trout and eels – which aren’t exactly everyone’s cup of cocoa. That’s where supplementation comes in.
Below we have laid out our favourite Vitamin D supplements – giving you an easy and efficient way to taste some sunshine and nourish your body.
For the stay-at-home parent…
When you have tiny tots to keep a watchful eye on, there’s often precious little time to focus on, well, everything else. Nutrition needs to be fast, easy and preferably something that won’t spoil when you inevitably have to put it down two minutes later. We recommend sprinkling Linwoods milled flaxseed over yoghurt or cereal. You could even add it to a smoothie.
Two heaped tablespoons contains 100% of your daily recommended amount of Vitamin D. And that’s not all. Flaxseed is a great source of fibre and it’s packed with antioxidants too. Oh and did we mention our flaxseed contains probiotic cultures? That’s one powerful nutritional punch in one small package.
For the jam-packed professional…
When catching up on work email feels like downtime, you know you’re in demand. For you the working week is a flurry of deadlines, reports and Zoom meetings. And let’s not get started on that colleague whose “quick question” always turns into a twenty-minute rant about next door’s cat.
You need efficiency – and here to provide it is an award-winning spray that has been scientifically proven (research by Cardiff University) to deliver a juicy hit of Vitamin D straight into your bloodstream. Endowed with a refreshing peppermint flavour, just spray once below your tongue or against the inside of your cheek and you’re good to get back to that deadline that’s galloping towards you.
For the exercise fanatic…
The sound you’ve missed most in lockdown is the clank of the barbell. And while your home workout routine is on point, and you’ve bossed a weekly riverside run, you can’t wait to get back to the gym. Regardless of where you’re working out, we recommend adding Golden Greens’ Vitamin D complex to your recovery routine. Bursting with organic raw cacao, maca and lucuma, one serving added to milk will give you a super-healthy shake that’s loaded with Vitamin D. Or add a dollop to your favourite workout smoothie. Either way, your taste buds are in for a treat.
For the fussy child…
Soil, grass, toys, sleeves: children have a curiously laissez-faire attitude about what they put in their mouths. Apart from when it comes to food, at which point the standards become ridiculously strict. Bypass the unmeetable culinary principles with Viridian’s Vitamin D drops. With a delightfully subtle orange tang, just add a swizz to a glass of juice, squash or water and get the seal of approval from kiddy-kind.
The no frills approach
Of course, if you’re looking for the no-frills approach to Vitamin D supplementation, it doesn’t get more straightforward than a couple of capsules with a glass of water. And these Fushi capsules are vegetarian-friendly.
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