Vitamin D: The facts
Thursday, 22 March 2018 | Editor
(Article courtesy of Nutri Advanced)
Vitamin D is a Super-Nutrient.
Vitamin D is fast becoming known as a ‘super-nutrient’. No longer just an important nutrient for healthy bones, research is now finding that low vitamin D may be linked to a wide range of health problems, including some of the most common chronic conditions of modern times.
What does vitamin D do?
Vitamin D contributes to numerous biological functions in the body, including:
Where does Vitamin D come from?
What many people don’t realise is that very few foods naturally contain vitamin D. Wild, oily fish is by far the best dietary source, followed closely by fortified milk and egg yolks, but you certainly cannot rely on food to provide you with optimal amounts of vitamin D on a daily basis. In fact, the major source (80 – 100%) of vitamin D is actually the sun! Vitamin D is made in the body when bare skin comes into contact with the sun’s UVB rays.
Why are so many people low in vitamin D?
The simple answer is that we don’t get anywhere near as much sun as we used to. Our ancestors lived and worked outdoors, with lots of bare skin sun exposure, which helped to ensure continual replenishment of the body’s vitamin D stores. Nowadays, we work and play inside, our bodies are covered up, we travel in cars and live and work in cities where buildings block the sun. Liberal use of high factor sunscreen, whilst needed to protect against skin cancer, has an unfortunate downside, as it reduces vitamin D production in the skin. It’s easy to understand why low vitamin D is a significant global health problem. Severe cases of vitamin D deficiency continue to be reported and more worryingly, many may go unrecognised.
How do I know if I'm low in vitamin D?
Many private labs offer inexpensive vitamin D testing direct to the public, most of which simply require a blood spot sample you can easily do at home. Alternatively, your GP may offer a vitamin D test if you have specific concerns or are at higher risk. Results are usually presented in a range as per the table below. With vitamin D, it’s advisable to aim for higher ‘optimal’ levels rather than just the basic minimum needed to avoid deficiency. If you are unsure how much vitamin D3 to supplement with please speak to your healthcare practitioner.
Vitamin D Reference Ranges
What are the latest government Vitamin D guidelines
The latest advice from Public Health England is that:
Who is at higher risk of Vitamin D deficiency?
Why government guidelines may be set too low...
The current daily recommendation for vitamin D is 400iu. However, if you consider that the skin will naturally produce around 10,000iu vitamin D in response to 20 – 30 minutes of summer sun exposure, you can easily see how 400iu may be considered too low by many health experts. There are varying opinions on vitamin D daily requirements and supplement dosage, and this can be confusing as some sources recommend much higher doses than others. Here’s our definitive guide to vitamin D supplements.
Nutri Advanced - Definitive guide to vitamin D supplements
Vitamin D supplements in babies and young children
Publish Health England 2016
*Exceptions are babies receiving 500ml or more fortified formula milk daily, or breastfed babies where mum is certain that her breast milk contains optimal daily amounts. Getting enough vitamin D via breast milk is a challenge however and for most breastfed babies, a daily supplement will be required.
Vitamin D supplements in children over the age of 4 & adults
The Endocrine Society Clinical Practice Guidelines
Which form of vitamin D should I take?
Vitamin D is best supplemented in the form of cholecalciferol (D3), as this is the form naturally made by the body in response to sunlight.
Why is vitamin K included in some vitamin D supplements?
Vitamins D and K work very closely together. Vitamin D helps the body to absorb calcium from food and supplements, and rather like a chaperone, vitamin K helps to ensure this calcium is used in the bones. Changing eating habits mean that many people don’t get enough vitamin K2 from their diet. It is found naturally in high fat dairy products, liver and Japanese fermented foods such as natto. Vitamin D3 & K2 are often found together in supplements to support this dual role.
Nutri Advanced's Vitamin D Range
Nutri's comprehensive range makes sure that whatever your age, individual needs or personal taste, we’ve got the right vitamin D supplement for you:
Vitamin D Supplements Summary Table (Click on name to go there)
Please speak to your healthcare practitioner if you need help deciding which formula is best for you.