Vitamin D

Do you feel that your children are taking unusually long before growing their first teeth? Or that they’re holding onto their milk teeth long after their class mates have started pushing through their adult teeth?

Do you suffer from muscle weakness and odd unexplained muscle pain? Odd repeated infections or increased asthma attacks?

Are you even finding it hard to lose weight?

If any of these health issues have been puzzling you for some time then they may be linked to Vitamin D deficiency.

Good high levels of Vitamin D have been linked to reducing the risk of heart disease, several forms of cancer, bone[more] disease and auto-immune conditions such as MS and rheumatoid arthritis. Yet low levels have been associated with brain conditions such as depression, autism and psychosis. It may even stimulate the immune system to rid the brain of beta amyloid, a protein linked to Alzheimer’s. In addition Vitamin D may lower blood pressure and, as cholesterol is necessary in the synthesis of vitamin D from sunlight, it may also have a role in lowering blood cholesterol levels.

Is this association with robust health so surprising though when we consider that over 50% of UK adults are believed to be deficient? The picture could be even worse with our children as rickets re-emerges as a childhood disease. This important vitamin has a direct role to play in the absorption of calcium and phosphate both of which are needed for strong bone growth. As already illustrated it also has significant roles to play with inflammation, the immune system and brain health.

In the winter we have various food sources to help us obtain an adequate intake but, as a fat soluble vitamin, we really need to stock up our levels in the summer months to see us through the year. We don’t need to risk sunburn but neither do we need to slather on the factor 50 as the first weak rays peek through the clouds. We only need to be out for 20 minutes between 10:00 and 3:00 between April and September, long enough to get out for a break from work or take our toddlers to the park without panicking about sun protection.

However, whilst we wait for summer sunshine ensure your diet contains plenty of the following:

By Saffron Rogerson

12 February 2015