Chiropractor Fiona Ellis has recently been studying the importance of Vitamin D. She explains below why we should all be thinking about it.
Vitamin D is sometimes known as the “Sunshine Vitamin” because we can make it from the action of the sun on our skin.
It is hugely important in the body and has many functions.
These include reducing inflammation, improving immunity, and enabling uptake of calcium into our bones. In addition, it has been shown to improve our mood. That’s pretty impressive!
Symptoms related to Vitamin D deficiency
From a more chiropractic point of view, a lack of this vitamin causes a common trio of symptoms.
- Persistent pain
- Fatigue and
- Feelings of anxiety or low mood.
We know that in the winter 87% of the British population are deficient in Vitamin D. Furthermore, even though our bodies can make vitamin D through the action of sunlight on the skin, 60% of the population are still deficient in the summer.
How to get Vitamin D from the sun…
- Generally, the sun is strong enough for our skin to make Vitamin D between the months of April to Sept. A good rule of thumb is that if your shadow is the same length or shorter than you, you can make Vitamin D.
- “The Sunshine Vitamin” is made best in strong sunlight, so between the hours of 11am and 3pm.
- At least 25% of your skin needs to be exposed to the sun to generate production of this Vitamin. This means a short sleeved t shirt and shorts, no hat, and no sun cream.
- The length of time needed in the sun is determined by how long it would take your skin to go ‘pink’ in the sun. You should spend a third to a half of this time in the sun, which in turn would make you between 10,000-20,000iu of Vitamin D! In other words, if you would take 30 mins to go pink in the sun, you would spend 10-15 minutes in the sun to make your Vitamin D before covering up or heading back inside. Do not allow your skin to go pink or burn.
- Vitamin D made from the action of the sun on our skin is far superior to any supplement as it lasts twice as long in the body.
Who may need to take Vitamin D?
Unfortunately, a lot of people are either sat inside at a desk or working during the day. These people often need to supplement all year round because they aren’t able to be in the sunshine between 11-3pm. There are also other groups that may need to take a Vitamin D supplement all year round:
- People over 65 have skin that is no longer as efficient at making it.
- Anyone with darker skin will not be as effective at making Vitamin D.
- People who are overweight are often deficient too. This is because Vitamin D is fat soluble and readily stored in their fat cells, making it less available for all other cells.
How do I know if I have enough?
Test kits are readily available to look at blood levels of Vitamin D. All that is involved to get started is a small pinprick to the finger. The blood spots are sent to an NHS lab in Birmingham and the results are sent via email directly to the patient. These results allow us to dose patients according to blood levels. However, whilst knowing the precise blood levels is useful, it is not essential.
The only people who must not take a Vitamin D supplement are those with a condition called sarcoidosis.
For more information here is a link to three 5 minute videos with everything you need to know.
Haslemere Chiropractic Clinic can provide Test Kits and good quality Vitamin D supplements. Please ask your chiropractor for more details, or email Fiona Ellis on firstname.lastname@example.org .