Vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency has become a global health concern.
During pregnancy, vitamin D deficiency has been associated with increased risks for pre-eclampsia and the need for a Cesarean section. The children who have been vitamin D deficient while in the womb are then at increased risk for developing asthma and other associated breathing disorders.
Professor Michael Holick is a worldwide expert on vitamin D and he claims "vitamin D deficiency has been linked to increased risk for many chronic illnesses in children and adults including type 1 and type 2 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, infectious diseases and some cancers."
The big question is how do we ensure we are getting enough vitamin D without exposing ourselves to increased skin cancer risk from too much sun.
Current Australian guidelines suggest 1000IU a day for adults and about half that amount for children. Dietary sources of vitamin D are limited to oily fish, cod liver oil and some fortified foods. Therefore supplementation and sensible sun exposure are the major ways to ensure we have enough of this important vitamin.
Prof Holick says "It has been estimated that exposure of arms, legs, stomach and back to an amount of sunlight that is half what it would take to cause a mild sunburn will give you approximately 5000IU of vitamin D3" It is not recommended at all to expose the face to sunlight as it is only 9% of the body's surface area and insufficient for vitamin D3 production. Sun exposure before 10am and after 3pm (when it's safest to be in the sun) is ineffective for vitamin D3 production. Even when you do get all the ingredients right for vitamin D3 production from the sun, you have to get this exposure almost every day!
Supplementation with vitamin D is therefore a practical and safe method of ensuring we receive adequate levels of this important vitamin.
The widespread deficiency that is sweeping Australia is becoming an increasing concern for health care professionals as vitamin D3 plays an important role in many systems of our body.
Vitamin D3 maintains strong healthy bones. Vitamin D helps us to absorb calcium which we all know is important for bone health.
Vitamin D3 maintains muscle strength. Vitamin D3 can also improve non-specific muscle pain which may be helpful in patients with fibromyalgia.
Vitamin D3 maintains healthy immunity. By having an adequate level of vitamin D we are ensuring that our immune system is working optimally to ward of any colds and flus, etc. Exciting research has also shown that it can enhance the body’s immune response to both bacterial and viral infections.
Vitamin D3 maintains heart health. Vitamin D can help lower blood pressure. Having a deficiency in vitamin D increases the risk of developing cardiovascular problems
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