There has been a lot of research examining the relationship of vitamin D to seasonal affective disorder (SAD), schizophrenia, and depression. According to this study and many others, supplementation with Vitamin D, especially in the cold months, is extremely beneficial.

Supplementing with vitamin D could enhance exercise performance and lower the risk of heart disease. A small preliminary study presented at the Society for Endocrinology’s annual conference gave 13 healthy adults either 50μg of vitamin D every day for 2 weeks or a placebo. Those who took the vitamin D had lower blood pressure and lower levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) in urine. Additionally, those who took vitamin D were able to cycle 1.5km more in 20 mins’ than they were at the start (6.5km in 20 minutes compared with 5km).

Also, being low in Vitamin D could put you at risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) according to this study published in JAMA Ophthalmology. The researchers analysed data from 1,230 women aged 54 – 74. Blood samples were taken to test their vitamin D levels. The scientists found that women were more likely to suffer from AMD if their vitamin D level was 30nmol or lower and if they had a specific gene. Macular degeneration damages sight and can get in the way of the ability to read or drive.

We make vitamin D just beneath the skin from the sun’s UV rays. Unfortunately, we don’t get enough sun at this latitude so it is important that you supplement with vitamin D. To find out if you’re deficient, you can use a simple home finger-prick test.

Alternatively, you can contact us for a Genova Diagnostics Vitamin D Test.

OTHER BENEFITS OF VITAMIN D

Vitamin D can help slow down the ageing process and when taken in pregnancy and childhood could wipe out 80% of multiple sclerosis cases. Vitamin D deficiencies have also been implicated in other autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and inflammatory bowel disease.

If you suffer from joint pains it is important that you are checked for vitamin D deficiency because research has shown that people who have musculoskeletal pain e.g. low back pain are often deficient in vitamin D and when the vitamin D deficiency is corrected by taking supplementation the pain is eliminated.

If you have been told that you have high cholesterol make sure you change your diet but at the same time get your vitamin D level checked. Cholesterol is used to make vitamin D so if you are deficient in vitamin D, your liver can be producing more cholesterol to try and produce more vitamin D. By correcting the vitamin D deficiency, your body does not have to produce so much cholesterol.

If you are trying to get pregnant or having recurrent miscarriages then it is important that your vitamin D level is checked because it is known that having good levels of vitamin D helps the body maintain a pregnancy by effectively switching off the part of the immune system that could reject a baby as only half the DNA is the mother’s.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION: Vitamin D is toxic at high levels, so although you want good levels of this vitamin it is important that the level is not too high, that is why testing is necessary to make sure you are just taking the right amount for you.

VITAMIN D IN FOODS: One of the richest sources of vitamin D is fish (particularly salmon and sardines). As to dairy & grains, do skip the fortified stuff!

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