Everything You Need To Know About Vitamin D
There was recently big news about the government us to ensure we have enough vitamin D in our bodies as it has been linked to how well people recover from Covid-19. Public Health England has issued the recommendation that most of us take a vitamin D supplement.
In addition, a number of recent studies found that Vitamin D can help build resistance to Covid-19. New research by Trinity College Dublin as well as a separate US study shows the link between vitamin D levels and death from Covid-19. The Irish researchers say there is a “statistically significant” correlation between low vitamin D levels and the mortality rate from Covid-19 and the US study strongly backs this up.
More studies are expected to be published as scientists quickly attempt to alleviate the symptoms of Covid-19. While we are not saying that vitamins are a cure-all to the virus, an ever-increasing set of scientific research is proving the importance of vitamin D.
We asked established nutritionist Pauline Cox MSc BSC and author of the upcoming book “Primal Living in a Modern World” to tell us all about this vital vitamin.
What is vitamin D?
Vitamin D is essential for healthy bones and teeth, it is needed for the absorption of calcium and is an important participant in blood clotting. It also plays a major role in immune function…all in all a pretty important vitamin!
Vitamin D regulates the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body. Without it, bone health can suffer and can eventually lead to rickets in children.
However, not only is Vitamin D essential for bone, muscle and dental health, it is also vital for the immune system and fighting off viruses. It is so essential to a healthy immune system that a virus will try and block the body’s vitamin D receptor to try and reduce access to the vitamin. By increasing your vitamin D levels you are increasing your access to promote a healthy immune response.
As reported in the Irish Examiner, Prof Rose Anne Kenny, said her team has “very strong evidence” to support a role for vitamin D in the prevention of chest infections, particularly in older adults who have low levels.
“In one study vitamin D reduced the risk of chest infections to half in people who took the supplement,” she said.
The study, published in the Irish Medical Journal, called for the immediate vitamin D supplementation of hospital inpatients, nursing home residents and older people. It also suggests that vitamin D supplementation in the wider adult population, particularly in frontline healthcare workers, may further limit infection and flatten the Covid-19 curve.
What happens when we don’t get enough Vitamin D?
Low-level deficiency can result in susceptibility to autoimmune conditions and increased risk of infections with a severe deficiency leading to rickets. When you’re low in vitamin D you can also experience insomnia and a low mood. Some viruses are smart enough to block our vitamin D receptors, stopping us accessing vitamin D and reducing our immune function in order to increase their ability to thrive. This is how important vitamin D is to our natural defence system.
How do we get Vitamin D from the Sun
We can make vitamin D when we get a dose of deliciously warm sunshine. It is made in the skin using cholesterol and converted to its active form in the liver and kidneys.
Vitamin D is produced in the skin by exposing the body to just 10-15 minutes per day of sun. Yet due to social isolation, especially among the vulnerable and elderly, many people are lacking in vitamin D and do not have access to outside spaces for the body to create its own. People with darker skin also do not absorb as much of the sun’s UV rays to produce as much vitamin D naturally.
It isn’t easy to get adequate levels of vitamin D from your diet, however this is a vitamin that our body can make itself, so when the sunshine is out, get outside and allow your body to make some more of this super nutrient! We can store Vitamin D in our body, so if you have been exposed to lots of sunshine recently then you may feel confident you have good a good store of vitamin D.
In short, if the sun makes an appearance wherever you are today, go make some vitamin D!
If you feel you are lacking in this key vitamin, you can take a supplement, however ensure it is in a form that the body can access such as D3.
Food sources of vitamin D include beef liver, fermented cod-liver oil, oily fish, dairy, nuts and mushrooms. Egg yolks are moderate source of vitamin D, however the levels vary, depending upon whether the chicken was outdoor- or barn-reared (with outdoor reared having higher levels of vitamin D) and whether the feed was enriched with vitamin D.
Yet studies show that a large percentage of us are not consuming enough vitamin D.
For meat-eaters and pescatarians, I recommend a high-quality ethically sourced supplement such as Wiley’s Finest K2, which not only has 2000iu of Vitamin D and a daily dose of K2 but also 500mg of Omega 3s essential acids EPA and DHA. Together these nutrients support optimal bone and heart health by helping to incorporate calcium into bones.
For children, Wiley’s Finest Beginner’s DHA offers a boost of 400iu of Vitamin D3, as well as 650 mg EPA + DHA Omega-3 per serving.
For vegans and vegetarians – Vitamin D & a Plant-Based Diet
It’s key foods such as oily fish, red meat and eggs deliver vitamin D, therefore, it’s not surprising that studies show that vegans, vegetarians and flexitarians are frequently low in vitamin D, with some vegans consuming just a tenth of the recommended daily amount.
The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) recommends at least 10 mcg vitamin D per day, but a UK population study reported the average intake of vitamin D among vegetarians was 1.5 mcg per day, and even lower in vegans, who consume less than 1 mcg of vitamin D per day while.
I recommend vegans and vegetarians take a new “vegan fish oil” which is algae and Ahiflower-based.
Wiley’s Finest new vegan-friendly product, Catch-Free Omega – Full spectrum Omega-3 Liquid has just launched which provides a daily boost of vitamin D3 as well as K2, another vitamin which recent research has shown a link between vitamin K deficiency and death from Covid-19. Dutch scientists discovered a link between a patient’s level of Vitamin K in the body and the outcome following Covid-19.
CatchFree Omega – Full spectrum Omega-3 Liquid is the first health supplement of its kind that not only offers vegans and vegetarians their daily dose of Omega-3s, vitamin D and vitamin K2 from plant-based sources, but can also be used as an ingredient to create delicious meals such stirfries, desserts and in salad dressings.
CatchFree Omega – Full spectrum Omega-3 Liquid delivers on all three nutrients; Omega-3s, vitamin D and vitamin K2. It is a full spectrum blend of branded British-grown ahiflower seed oil and Algarithm algal DHA, with the addition of MenaQ7 vitamin K2 and Vitashine vitamin D3. Ahiflower contains a full spectrum of healthy fats such as ALA Omega-3, SDA Omega-3, and GLA Omega-6 fatty acids. CatchFree Omega – Full spectrum Omega-3 comes in two formats: a soft gel and a Tropical Mango-flavoured oil.