We are approaching winter which offers lots of good things to look forward to, like cosy nights in front of the fire and lovely warming foods. Winter also means less sunshine, which means we need to look at our vitamin D intake.
The sunshine vitamin
Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin this is because we need sunlight to help us synthesise this special nutrient. In this country, we only get sunlight worth synthesising between the months of April and September and 10am–2pm each day on a sunny non-cloudy day!
This means that we can only produce our own supply of vitamin D during the summer. The winter months do not provide enough sunlight for our bodies to synthesise meaning we can become deficient in this important vitamin.
Why do we need Vitamin D?
EFSA recognises the following about Vitamin D:
It contributes to the:
As you can see Vitamin D is very important for us and helps maintain a healthy immune system, strong teeth, bones and muscles. Not only that Vitamin D is an important nutrient which is also helpful for:
Who needs Vitamin D?
There are a number of groups of people that will be vulnerable:
This summer was wonderfully sunny! What was so striking was how happy people were and how much time they spent outside. Normally the best, sunniest part of the day has gone by the time we get home from work or school. This year allowed us to be outside right up until bedtime, we truly lived the al fresco life!
The difference in people’s mood and lifestyle is a clear demonstration of what a powerful mood enhancer sunlight can be. On the other hand it's easy to see how Vitamin D deficiency is associated with mood and depression. I know how easily my mood shifts according to the light factor. Like many people, I am uplifted on a sunny day and subdued on a grey day.
Seasonal Affected Disorder
Winter, whilst delightful for some, brings others down; the grey days and the cold are a prompt for conditions like SAD – Seasonal Affected Disorder. This condition is very much akin to depression but is directly associated with the seasons, hence its name. It can make life difficult for anyone who suffers from it. SAD is associated with serotonin deficiency.
As ever nutrients in the body do not work in isolation and Serotonin and Vitamin D are an important partnership. Vitamin D3 facilitates the production of serotonin, our happy hormone. Serotonin is a hormone that is created in the gut from the amino acid tryptophan.
Types of Vitamin D
D3 works in conjunction with K2, Magnesium and Calcium, in particular, to ensure we have good bones and muscles.
Vitamin D is an important co-hormone working as an essential part of the endocrine system. These hormones work in conjunction with each other and need to achieve the correct balance for the body to work properly. An imbalance will lead to the body not performing as well.
I have an under-active thyroid and using extra vitamin D certainly gave me a boost and acted very quickly too.
D3 is involved in many of the body processes and we believe it will continue to have further discoveries made about it for some time yet.
How can I help myself?
Vitamin D is such an all-rounder providing us with support for our bones, our immunity, hormones and protection against chronic disease. This vital nutrient needs to be part of your daily regime. Supplementing is the most effective way to ensure you do not become deficient.
Just to remind you we have a special offer on Vitamin D – we want you to have a healthy winter!
We love to hear your comments and feedback, please let us know what you think of our blog.
At this time of year many of us will be feeling the lack of sunshine in our lives, we have written various blogs around the subject:
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