So after nearly a month of rain, the sun has decided to show its face, sending us Brits into a frenzy of excitement. Temperatures have rocketed and the Summer wardrobe is out, filing those heavy winter items away with a hope that they will not be seen for a while (or ever again perhaps).
But is there something more that the sun gives us that feel good factor?
You may recall a few years ago that there was the Vitamin C phenomenon but there seems to be now a new kid on the block, particularly with those living in the Northern hemisphere. Yes it’s vitamin D. Let’s take a look at why vitamin fashion isn’t just working it way through the alphabet.
What is Vitamin D
Vitamin D is present in very few foods (e.g. mackerel, salmon, eggs) and only in very small amounts. The main source our body gets it is from the sun when its rays hit the skin and trigger vitamin D synthesis. For this reason, Vitamin D is in fact regarded as a hormone.[i]
What is vitamin D used for?
Vitamin D is crucial for the absorption and metabolism of calcium and phosphorus, which is shown to play a role in bone health. More recently vitamin D has been shown to play a distinct role in immunity, autoimmune disease, high blood pressure, depression, heart disease, inflammatory disease and more.[ii],[iii]
According to the National Diet and Nutrition survey 90% of the population have below optimal levels and the government have even voiced concerns over the nation’s vitamin D status. Reasons for deficiency are lack of sunlight especially in Winter months, most people working indoors and when we finally get outside we cover up with clothing and use SPF due to the fear of the UV damaging rays.
So what can you do?
- Visit your GP for a test. This is free and will indicate whether your levels are sufficient.
- If levels are sub-optimal, you may consider supplementing with D3. Consult your GP or health practitioner before.
- Spend 15 minutes each day out in the sun with your face, arms and hands uncovered 2-3 times a week.
So if the weather holds up for this weekend. Get out in the sun and celebrate the Jubilee in the sun knowing it is doing you the world of good.
[ii] Hewison, M. (2010) ‘Vitamin D and the intracrinology of innate immunity’, Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology, 321 (2), pp.103-111.
[iii] Hollick M. (2004) ‘Sunlight and vitamin D for bone health and prevention of autoimmune diseases, cancers, and cardiovascular disease’, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 80 (6), pp. 1678S-1688S
Images: http://www.glutathionediseasecure.com/, http://barryjphillips.blogspot.co.uk/