When the sun goes down….

As we move into the darkest part of our year in the northern hemisphere, lots of us start to feel a little sleepier, a little less vibrant, get a little more ill. “It’s the winter” I people say or “I always feel like this when it’s darker and colder”. Let’s not detract from genuine S.A.D.-Seasonal Affective Disorder, where people suffer from a dark depression related to change of season and therefore lack of sunlight. It is important also not to detract from the flu virus which is clearly a seasonal threat…

But….what if I told you that a lot of the tiredness, low mood, low immunity could be prevented?

This week has been a bit of an eye-opener for my family and I. Having discovered some really affordable “direct to consumer” Vitamin D testing, without needing to have blood drawn, my mum, my husband and I all dutifully provided our blood spots, popped the cards off in the post to the lab and waited.

With a 5 day turnaround, the results landed in my inbox. As I already supplement year round with liposomal (under the tongue) Vitamin D I wasn’t surprised to see my results deemed me to be “adequate”, however the next two results were pretty shocking. My husband was “insufficient” despite supplementation and my mum, despite gardening for between 2 and 6 hours a day, nearly every day and walking with the dog for an hour each morning in the sunlight (when we have it!) was “deficient”. Not just deficient but to the point of being borderline severely deficient.

To some of you this won’t come as a shock. In fact the NHS will not provide testing free of charge as the blanket viewpoint from most GPs is that “everyone is deficient to some degree or other, so should probably supplement”

So what do you do if you suspect you might be deficient? How would you know? What can you do about it?

The best thing you can do is test, it is quick easy and affordable. You will then have a baseline and know exactly what supplementation to take in order to get to the optimum level.

If you can’t test for one reason or another, you can ensure that you get exposure to whatever sun we have available with bare arms and legs as often as possible and you may also wish to supplement, just at the manufacturers recommended dose, with a good quality Vitamin D3.

Lack of vitamin D in the body is no small matter, with VDR (Vitamin D Receptors) on every single cell of the body, that tells us just how vital this nutrient is. Vitamin D is responsible for modulating our immune system, fighting off those seasonal colds, coughs and the flu, is key in the transport of calcium to the right places in the body, read: BONES! Vitamin D is absolutely crucial for maintaining bone density especially in menopausal and post menopausal ladies, and is crucial in the communication between cells, so instrumental in energy and brain function.

BUT a word of warning, Vitamin D is fat soluble, which means that it is readily stored in the body when we are supplementing and excess supplementation can result in toxicity. Therefore testing to ascertain baseline levels is the gold standard, and if not, then sensible supplementation is encouraged, it is definitely not a case of “some is good, more is better!”

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