Despite common misconceptions, Vitamin D is not just needed for bone health. Research has shown what a profound role vitamin D plays in a healthy immune system.
Vitamin D receptors are expressed on our immune cells and research has shown that vitamin D has the ability to ‘modulate’ our immune response. This means that deficiencies can lead to poor immune function as well as an overactive immune function that is seen in autoimmune conditions.
Vitamin D is also essential for healthy thyroid function, mood, energy and also can play a role in the healthy lining of the gut!
The main source of vitamin D is from the sun, but we also get small amounts from foods such as eggs, dairy, fatty fish, mushrooms and beef liver. However, simply getting out in the sun may not be enough for some people, as there genetic variants on vitamin D receptors which can affect how e effectively you absorb Vitamin D. So if your Vitamin D levels are low, you may to supplement.
In winter is it essential to make sure you are topping up your vitamin D to keep your levels in the optimal range. Aim for 10-15 minutes of midday sun on exposed arms and legs, with no moisturiser or suncream. Midday sun exposure is when the UVB rays are the correct length to make Vitamin D.
Research states optimal levels of Vitamin D should be 100-150 nmol/L, however some labs reference ranges still say over 50 nmol/L is adequate. Most vitamin D supplements come in 1000IU capsules. One 1000IU capsule will bump your vitamin D up 25 nmol/L, so if your Vitamin D levels are 50 nmol/L then make sure you are taking at least 2-3 capsules daily to bump those levels up to the OPTIMAL range.
Conditions that may benefit from Vitamin D supplementation include:
- Frequent colds and infections
- Multiple sclerosis
- Autoimmune Conditions like Rheumatoid arthritis, Lupus, Hashimotos, Graves disease etc
- Coeliac disease
- Osteoporosis & fractures
- Thyroid conditions