· By Ashley Heeley
Vitamin D: The Sunshine Vitamin
The Sunshine Vitamin
For those living in the northern hemisphere, January and February can be tough. It may be a new year, but the days are still short and we endure the two coldest months during this period. The lack of sunlight means it is common to experience low mood and fatigue. One way of tackling these symptoms during the winter months is by ensuring we are getting sufficient vitamin D.
What is vitamin D and where does it come from?
Despite its name, vitamin D is not actually a vitamin as such but a prohormone, meaning it is produced naturally in the body. The liver and kidneys make vitamin D when UV light comes into contact with the surface of the skin, hence its nickname the sunshine vitamin. However, with more of us than ever now working from home and a heightened awareness of protecting our skin from sun damage - a significant number of people do not get enough vitamin D.
What are the benefits of vitamin D?
- Vitamin D enhances the absorption of calcium and regulates phosphorus levels in the blood which are vital processes in the maintenance of healthy bones and teeth. This means that too little vitamin D can lead to bone weakening and in some cases osteoporosis.
- A healthy immune system needs vitamin D to protect your body against pathogens. From October through to early March, colds, flu, and other viral infections rip through the population. As vitamin D is crucial for immune function, a lack of it can increase our vulnerability to catching infections.
- Research suggests that low vitamin D levels may impair the function of receptors in the brain which are responsible for mood and behaviour. This explains why symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include irritability and exhaustion and have been linked to seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
- Vitamin D is an important contributor to the regulation of nervous system development and function. Clinical studies have shown the risk of developing diseases of the central nervous system, such as multiple sclerosis (MS), is reduced in those who regularly carry sufficient levels of vitamin D in their bloodstream.
How do I ensure I am getting enough vitamin D?
Dermatologists do not recommend obtaining vitamin D from unprotected sun exposure, as this poses its own set of risks - a rapidly thinning ozone layer has led to a dramatic increase in rates of skin cancers in the last few decades alone. And few foods naturally contain vitamin D, so it is advised that everyone take some form of supplement.
One teaspoon (5g) of Hippie Herbal Turtle Co Vitality supplement powder contains enough vitamin D3* to fulfil your daily requirement. Among other ingredients in the powder like ginseng, vitamin C and lion’s mane, it aids to strengthen the body’s immune system, promoting faster recovery and reducing inflammation.
The sunshine vitamin is a vital component for the inner functions of our immune and nervous systems as well as an integral player in the upkeep of not just a healthy body, but a healthy mind. Tackling that post-Christmas slump may be made much easier once we first guarantee we’re getting enough of that vitamin D!
|*Vitamin D3 is more effective at raising vitamin D levels in the bloodstream when compared to its counterpart vitamin D2.|