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Vitamin D – Get Ahead of the Winter Blues

Now that the summer is well and truly gone the cold, dark evening will be upon us. A certain lack of sunshine comes with that, especially in Ireland, therefore it is imperative to gain the missing nutrients from somewhere else.

King among these nutrients is Vitamin D – known as the sunshine vitamin – is essential for the healthy function of the immune system, maintaining good bones and teeth and much more. Light stimulates the production of cholecalciferol which the body turns into Vitamin D.

Benefits:

Elevated Mood:

Vitamin D has been found to maintain higher levels of serotonin during the winter months. Serotonin is the hormone responsible for wakefulness and elevated mood and is the hormone responsible for one of the most common antidepressant medication SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor). Serotonin levels increase due to bright light and this is a major reason why mood tends to be elevated during the summer months.

Due to the lack of light during the winter there is less serotonin in our bodies which can cause seasonal affective disorder (SAD), seasonal depression or mood variation. Vitamin D helps to maintain higher levels of serotonin during the winter and counter the decrease in light exposure.

Strong & Healthy Bones:

It is commonly known that Vitamin D plays a major role in maintaining healthy bones and teeth. This is because it absorbs calcium from the bloodstream to strengthen our bones and maintains healthy phosphorus levels. Deficiencies in Vitamin D can cause crippling diseases (especially in your older years) such as osteoporosis, osteomalacia and rickets (bowing of the legs) in children.

Diabetes:

Several studies have conformed an inverse relationship between vitamin D levels and the risk of developing Type II Diabetes. Those with Type II Diabetes may insulin secretion and glucose tolerance problems due to low Vitamin D levels.

Cancer:

Vitamin D is extremely important for Cell-Cell Communication and regulating cell growth and development. This means it can play a vital role, according to studies, in reducing cancer progression by allowing for cancer cell death, reducing changes of metastases developing and slowing cancer cell growth and proliferation.

Blood Pressure:

Adequate levels of Vitamin D in the body are seen to reduce high blood pressure (hypertension). In a number of studies it has been seen that exposure to UVA and UVB has positively affected the blood pressure levels of those dealing with hypertension.

Good Sources of Vitamin D:

Apart from sunshine, which is in short supply during the winter months, there are plenty of foods that contain Vitamin D such as:

  • Oily fish, such as mackerel
  • Eggs, particularly the egg yolk
  • Fortified milk and yoghurt
  • Fortified cereals

According to the FSAI, foods containing Vitamin D are not commonly consumed in Ireland, therefore it can be difficult to achieve the desired level of vitamin D during the winter months. Recently updated guidelines in North America recommend an intake of 5µg of vitamin D per day for infants and young children up to 3 years of age.

Supplements:

Since getting enough Vitamin D through food and sunshine is becoming increasingly difficult it is possible to achieve the desired amount by using supplements available in pharmacies.

Vitamin D comes in a variety of forms, from film-coated tablets, chewable tablets and sprays. Pharmanord BioActive D-Pearls are an extremely high-quality supplement ensuring you are getting adequate levels of Vitamin D in your diet.

Sprays such as the BetterYou Dlux Spray deliver accurate quantities of Vitamin D and are very handy for young kids who are reluctant to take tablets.

To view our full selection of Vitamin D products, click here.

For further information on Vitamin D, its benefits and the supplements available at Stratus Healthcare you can phone us on 051-337053, email us at pharmacist@stratushealthcare.ie or use our PharmaChat service to speak with a professional, expert pharmacist immediately about any issues, problems or queries you may have.

 

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