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YES! I believe you should

Vitamin d deficiency

Did you know that in the US 42% of people have a vitamin D deficiency?  I was astonished to learn that.  Even more astonished to learn that if you are Hispanic that figure jumps to 69% AND  –   If you are black American that percentage leaps to 82%!  Older people are also notoriously deficient in Vitamin D.

If you live anywhere in the Northern latitudes you are likely to be deficient in Vitamin d and, although I don’t know this for a fact but, I suspect that most of us here in the UK are deficient – certainly those of us in the North of the country. (For this reason and for some time, I had been taking the UK recommended daily allowance of 400 international units (IU) approx. 10 micrograms mcg)

Why?

The sunshine vitamin

Because we get roughly 90% of our vitamin D from sunshine.   Your skin manufactures vitamin D from sunshine. In the UK we just don’t get enough sun. Wherever you live in the world  even if you do go out into the sun it is likely that you cover yourself from head to toe in sunscreen.

Older people tend not to go outside as much and not often to ‘sunbathe’.

Those people with darker skin – that is, non-white people have skin that is less efficient at manufacturing vitamin D. The process is slower because of the amount of melatonin in the skin and is why they are likely to be deficient.

 

 

It was way back in May, researching vitamin D for the viewers of my You-tube channel, Happy stuff and fluff, that I came across the above information. This was just as we were learning in the UK that older people and minority groups are more at risk of catching Coronavirus and have a higher death rate from it.   I was astonished that no-one seemed looking into that connection.

Once you have read this article please see the .Resources list for relevant Happy stuff and fluff videos

We know that sufficient levels of vitamin D are vital for immune system health.  So being deficient in it is not good.  I will come back to general health but first:

Respiratory tract infection.

Although it was not being reported at the time links between vitamin D and respiratory tract infections (RTI) were being made.

The British medical journal carried out a randomized, double blind, placebo controlled meta study assessing the overall effect of vitamin D on the risk of acute respiratory tract infections.

RTI’s kill 1.65 million people world-wide.

They discovered that taking vit.D supplements reduced the risk of contracting respiratory tract bacterial and viral infection and reduced the severity of it if you have it.

 But wait…

‘Isn’t Coronavirus an RTI?  Ding dong!  Light bulb moment. At this point, I increased my daily intake of vit.D to 1000 IU – 25mcg

Jump forward a few months with more and more studies appearing suggesting the link between vitamin d deficiency and high rates of Coronavirus. Finally.  a clinical trial and much reporting of the evidence.  The UK government i.e. the Health secretary Matt Hancock who had previously said that vitamin D had no discernible impact  launched a review into the effect it could have on the virus                                                                As of this last weekend the Guardian reported that the government is considering giving vit D to elderly people, to black and minority ethnic people with similar conversations as to whether obese people should also be included

 This has been so long coming but is such good news.

And the rest of us

There is a world pandemic of vitamin D deficiency and there is a good chance that includes you. If you are not taking a supplement I believe you should be. However, despite all of my research screaming to me that everyone should be taking vitamin D. – I am neither a doctor nor a nutritionist so I cannot tell you what to do.  But just in case you are not yet convinced.

Let’s talk for a second and talk about general health. 

What happens when vitamin D is low

Let me tell you a story:

I have a brother who is wayyyy older than me 😊.  Not that much actually but he is in the Covid ‘at ristk’ group being over 65 and overweight. He won’t mind that I tell you that.  I had to spend a long time badgering him to take a vit. D supplement. Finally, he relented.

About three weeks later I received a phone call from him absolutely effervescing about how much his health had improved since taking the supplement.   His bones didn’t ache as much.  He wasn’t tired all the time, he felt more alert.  He went on and on remarking that he thought he felt so bad previously because of his weight and his age. He had no idea that his vit D levels were low but fully intended to talk to his doctor about it.

Another story.

A Happy stuff and fluff viewer told me that she felt like an old woman at 50 – suffering from fatigue, constant muscle and bone aches, breathlessness and even hair loss.  Thankfully, her medical provider diagnosed vitamin D deficiency.  She also reported feeling completely better after just a few weeks with even the hair loss improving.

Please note:  Both people were ready to accept their original aches and pains as ‘just to be expected symptoms of getting older’  NO!  This is worth remembering.

Vitamin D benefits

  • Strengthens your immune system
  • Helps to prevent colds and ‘normal’ flu.
  • Boosts weight loss
  • Reduces depression
  • Reduces risk of multiple sclerosis
  • Reduces risk of heart disease
  • Reduces the risk of some cancers 

Can you increase vitamin d intake through diet?

Up to a point you can. There are foods that contain vitamin D

What foods are high in vitamin D

Foods to boost vitamin D include

  1. Fatty fish such as salmon
  2. Eggs
  3. Mushrooms
  4. Red meat.

Remember that, in fact, you only get 10% of your required levels of vitamin D from diet –  the rest of it comes from sunshine.  However, there is a way to use food to help you better absorb the vitamin. Read on.

What is the best vitamin D supplement

The best or most effective vitamin D to take is vitamin D3

How much vitamin d should I take

I cannot tell you how much to take.  There are different things to consider when deciding.  These are some of the things that affect the rate at which your body utilizes the vitamin,

  • Colour of your skin
  • Where you live
  • Weight
  • Gut health
  • Age

Skin colour, where you live and age we have already mentioned.  Your gut health is important because if it is sluggish in any way it will take longer to get the vitamin D processed and sent off around your body.  Equally the more subcutaneous fat you have on your body the longer it will take to absorb.

What I would say is when you are doing your research check the date of any information.  The UK RDA is woefully inadequate and scientists and researchers have recently recommended up 10X that dose.  I now take a much higher dose but I suggest that you do not take more than 4000 IU 100mcg without checking with your doctor. Hopefully he/she will be up to speed on the very latest information.

How can I increase my vitamin D levels

Well, you can obviously take a vitamin D3 supplement they are cheap and plentiful. If you do take a supplement it is also recommended that to increase the efficacy of vit D you also increase your levels of vitamin K vitamin A and magnesium.  You can take these as supplements or you can use your diet.

 

 

Foods high in vitamin K

 

 

 

 

 

Foods high in vitamin A

 

 

 

 

 

 

Foods high in Magnesium

 

 

You probably already include many of the foods above in your diet.  They are easy enough to eat.

Ensuring that your vitamin D levels are boosted, at the the very least, to sufficient is proven to give you all the mentioned benefits.

In addition, it could help you to prevent contracting Coronavirus – help to ease you through it if you do get it AND lower your risk of dying from it.   I do hope you are now convinced.

Please share this post especially to anyone you know who may benefit from its content. Thank you in advance.

If you have experience with vitamin D I would love to hear about it in the comments below.  If you have anything to add that will help or if you any questions please post in the comments.

Resources

YOUTUBE   Happy stuff and fluff   VITAMIN D IMPORTANT UPDATE

Happy stuff and fluff  HOW MUCH VITAMIN D SHOULD I TAKE

Covid: UK government requests guidance on vitamin D use  The Guardian newspaper Mattha Busby, 14th Nov. 2020

Vitamin D supplementation to prevent acute respiratory tract infections. British medical journal

Vitamin D and Covid 19    Evidence that vitamin d supplementation could reduce the risk of influenza and Covid 19 infection and death.

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