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Insufficient Vitamin D…. Are you at risk?

8 February 2011

Vitamin D

With summer in full swing and many of us holidaying around the fabulous waterways and beaches one would think that our sun exposure would provide enough vitamin D to induce adequate levels in the body. Unfortunately this is not the case – factors such as age, time of the day, geography, season, part of body exposed to sunlight, showering directly after sun exposure and the use of sunscreen all affect endogenous production of this very important vitamin.

UVB rays from the sun are a major source of vitamin D, but they have many other well-documented dangers. Australia’s sun safety mantra of “slip, slop, slap” has been drilled into the national consciousness for good reason.  Recent research findings show that the trend of working and spending leisure time indoors, wearing sunscreen and covering up when outdoors, mean people need to rethink how and if they are getting enough vitamin D.

Most vitamin D is produced by sun exposure and an activation process that involves the liver and kidneys. Because prolonged sun exposure to UVB rays is known to promote cancer it is difficult to find that safe medium.

However, it is hard to rely on diet alone to adequately fulfil the essential requirements of vitamin D. Sources include fish such as, halibut, mackerel, salmon, herring, tuna, sardines, cod fish liver oil and also foods such as butter, egg yolk, milk, sweet potato, oatmeal, oysters and sprouted seeds. These foods may assist but not necessarily provide adequate nutritive levels to support the function of the human body.

Vitamin D is required for the utilisation and absorption of calcium and phosphorus, development and normal growth of bones and teeth in children. It regulates heart beat, protects against muscle weakness, breast and colon cancer, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, and calcium insufficiency. It is necessary for thyroid function, normal blood clotting and immune function.

So as you can see this vitamin plays a huge role in maintaining homeostasis (balance) within the body. If you are concerned that your levels are low,  we can guide you to get a simple blood test from your G.P  to determine if you are deficient.  If you are deficient,  we are able to bring you into ideal range.  This is an easy solution to a rather common health concern.

 

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