Why is Vitamin D3 so important?
Vitamin D3 is a type of hormone which is naturally synthesised in the body when skin is exposed to UVB rays from direct sunlight. Nearly all cell types in the human body have Vitamin D3 receptors, making Vitamin D’s role in health omnipresent and incredibly complex.
It is most commonly known for helping us keep our bones and teeth strong through making calcium and phosphorus absorption effective. A lesser known fact is that Vitamin D3 is crucial for developing and maintaining a healthy immune defence system.
Furthermore, aerobic metabolism and muscle efficiency is enhanced by Vitamin D3, and it is also very important for supporting the nervous system. Some studies have even suggested that Vitamin D3 plays an important role in the prevention of illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, autism and depression – conditions more common in countries situated further away from the equator.
It is our belief that by sustaining optimal levels of Vitamin D3 in your body, not only will it improve your current wellbeing, but it will also prevent potentially serious health issues in the long term.
Could you be Vitamin D3 deficient?
It is estimated that in the UK one in five adults suffer from some degree of Vitamin D deficiency, with the number rising to nearly 40%, and up to 75% in particular population groups, during the winter months.
To reach and maintain optimal levels throughout just the summer season, it is estimated that for a fair skinned person of European descent, it would take about 20-30 minutes of midday sun exposure on a daily basis. One third of the body would have to be exposed, and if you have a dark skin complexion, up to 30 times longer sun exposure may be required as melanin in the skin blocks out UVB rays.
Pregnancy also increases the need for Vitamin D3, and overweight people and sufferers of intestinal conditions such as Crohn’s are likely to have insufficient Vitamin D3 levels due to absorption difficulties. You may also have a greater need for it genetically, this can however only be determined through DNA testing.
Do you think you are getting enough sun to meet your Vitamin D needs?
How do you spot Vitamin D3 deficiency?
Symptoms that may indicate deficiency include:
- Feeling tired and low
- Achy bones and/or joints
- Achy muscles, especially calves
- A weak immune system
- Irregular periods and fertility issues
- Autoimmune issues, e.g. allergies, asthma
The only way to make sure you have healthy levels in your body is through measuring the 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 – also referred to as 25 (OH) D – levels in a blood test.
Typically levels tend to go up during the summer months, peaking at the end of the season, but between October-April levels will drop off without supplementation due to the lack of UVB rays in UK during the winter months.
This explains why many people become deficient and consequently susceptible to colds and flus during the colder and darker months of the year.