Vitamin D and our requirements are very much on people’s minds due to the lifestyle changes COVID has forced upon us. The enforced lockdowns have greatly affected our outdoor activities and any sun-holiday plans.
Ireland, blessed with long winters and the typical Irish summer, neither are conducive to a lot of sunlight exposure. As you probably are aware we normally manufacture Vitamin D ourselves triggered by sunlight falling on our skin. You may recall hearing the effect on our bones particularly in the developmental years resulting in Rickets, a disease relating to brittle bones etc.
Our understanding of Vitamin D has improved considerably in recent years and we are now aware Vitamin D plays a vital role in our overall health. As well as developing strong bones it is involved in the healthy function of our cardiovascular system and immune system. It affects our cell metabolism and is involved in the regulation and control of some of our genes to name but a few functions. Our lack of sunlight exposure prevents us from naturally producing sufficient quantities of Vitamin D to support these functions.
Natural food sources of Vitamin D are limited to fatty wild fish (e.g. Mackerel, Herring, and Olive oil).
Importantly Vitamin D plays a role in our serotonin levels, our neurotransmitter that is released during the day, involved in regulating our mood and alertness. Deficiency has been associated with depression, Parkinsons and Alzheimers onset. Our modern day lifestyle and dietary intake may be a contributor to the fact that it is estimated 80% of people are Vitamin D deficient. Depression is such a major topic, in this current pandemic, a lot of research is being carried out in an effort to reduce the effect our restricted lifestyles are having.
The question is often posed “how much Vitamin D per day is recommended”? And the answer is, it varies between people, depending on many factors, e.g. age, diet, general health, obesity, etc
There are 2 variants of Vitamin that we can ingest, D2 we get from plants and D3 we get from animal by-products. The Vitamin D3 is the one we need and can utilise. The D3 form is bio-compatible to what we can naturally produce from the sunlight on our skin, when available.
Many foods are fortified with Vitamin D. Daily levels for the average person is 40 to 60 nanogram per day, or 2000 IU per day. Not everyone needs the same amount and getting your levels checked by your doctor is a good place to start. Fortunately there are no toxic levels of Vitamin D identified so while it is a fat soluble vitamin, we simply excrete what we don’t need.
Obesity is a real issue, as Vitamin D gets trapped in fat cells and makes it unavailable for processing. It makes great sense to take a supplement with Vitamin D3 for all of the reasons mentioned above.
Nutrof Total is the supplement we advise our patients to take, 1 capsule each morning with food, for their overall health. This supplement includes Vitamin D in the D3 form and the supplement has many other benefits for our health, with a special emphasis on our eye health.