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Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Do you know if you are Vitamin D deficient?

It seems like there's some news about Vitamin D every day.  It's traditionally known for helping to form healthy bones in children alongside calcium (resulting in rickets if there's a deficiency), and also known as the 'sunshine vitamin' because we make our own Vitamin D through exposure to sunlight.

It's now becoming accepted in mainstream medicine that Vitamin D is needed for a whole host of processes in the body, and is particularly beneficial for the immune system.

We are told in the news that deficiency is rife, which is in part due to our indoor lifestyles.
 But if you want to know if you are deficient, then a blood test will give you an idea of your own personal levels of Vitamin D.  Your doctor will be able to arrange this for you, or I can arrange a test with the laboratory I work with (Genova Diagnostics).

Or if you would rather take a Vitamin D supplement as an insurance policy, then I recommend these ones from Nutrigold.  Vitamin D is a fairly safe supplement, but some caution is advised*.

You can also increase the amount of Vitamin D rich foods into your diet, but bear in mind that 90% of Vitamin D is made in our own bodies through exposing our skin to sunlight and therefore food sources play a small part.  The best food sources of Vitamin D are oily fish and egg yolk.

Here in the northern hemisphere, the sunshine is just thinking about making an appearance; we may need to wait a couple of months before the sun is strong enough for peak Vitamin D production!




Care is needed with vitamin D supplements in certain situations:
  • If you are taking certain other medicines: digoxin (for an irregular heartbeat - atrial fibrillation) or thiazide diuretics such as bendroflumethiazide (commonly used to treat high blood pressure). In this situation, avoid high doses of vitamin D, and digoxin will need monitoring more closely.
  • If you have other medical conditions: kidney stones, some types of kidney disease, liver disease or hormonal disease. Specialist advice may be needed.
  • Vitamin D should not be taken by people who have high calcium levels or certain types of cancer.
  • You may need more than the usual dose if taking certain medicines which interfere with vitamin D. These include: carbamazepine, phenytoin, primidone, barbiturates and some medicines for the treatment of HIV infection.

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