Get your Vitamin D hit
One of the not-so-great elements of modern life is that we spend so much time inside.
Added to that, the Irish climate is often a stranger to the sun and that means we’re missing out on the sun’s great gift: vitamin D. We asked nutritionist Maev Creaven what we need to keep Vitamin D topped up.
Vitamin D is made by the skin in response to UVB radiation and is needed for the absorption of calcium.
The synthesis of Vitamin D is greatly influenced not only by season, but time of the day, latitude, altitude, air pollution, skin pigmentation, sunscreen use, and ageing [ageing skin produces less vitamin D].
Without adequate vitamin D, we may be at increased risk of osteoporosis. Vitamin D is not only about bone health it is also important for many metabolic functions…..
Other Signs of Low Vitamin D levels
- Pains in bones
- Low Moods – Vitamin D seems to improve levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin, the feel good hormone.
- Overweight or obese
- You have darker skin: Studies have shown distinct demographic differences in rates of vitamin D insufficiency and deficiency.
- You have digestive issues – Vitamin D is a a fat soluable vitamin, and people with Crohn’s, coeliac or inflammatory bowel disease may be a greater risk for a deficiency because these gastrointestinal conditions affect fat absorption. This means fat absorption can be lower, which will affects Vitamin D absorption.
- If you’re over 50+ years old – you may very well be low.
What you can do now:
- Get tested
- When the sun shines, jump out into it, we should get at least 15 mins three times a week.
- Resistance exercise, [lifting weights in the gym, using your body weight in yoga] are useful for promoting bone growth.
- Eat more Oily fish [wild!]
- Eat eggs
Whats the optimal range on a blood test:
Optimal range is 50-100 ng/mL (125-250 nmol/L). I like to see readings over 80ng/mL but if levels remain low and are not responding to supplementation, then it is worth taking a look at genetics.
The gene connection
The gene VDR is known as the Vitamin D Receptor. Variations in this gene have been related to individual differences in vitamin D requirements. This needs to be taken on board, especially if you’ve been taking vitamin D and you levels haven’t changed(may also be linked with a poor supplement choice.)
How much supplement should you take?
You daily requirement for Vitamin D depends on a few factors as already outlined: genes, latitude, physical activity, baseline vitamin D [1,25(OH)2 D], calcium status, oral contraceptive use, ethnicity / skin and adiposity.
To maintain healthy levels during the winter months, start off with a dosage of 2000 IU daily [monitor how you feel]. I have some clients at 5000+ IU for 3-6 months. If you are already deficient, you may require more. It is important to work with your GP /nutritionist when beginning a supplementation regimen.