- Do you avoid sunshine?
- Do you wear a sun-block with high SPF?
- Do you follow a very low or zero fat diet?
- Do you avoid seafood?
- Are you pregnant?
- Do you live in the northern hemisphere latitudes above 30 degrees?
If you answered 'yes' to at least two of the above questions, you may be at risk of vitamin D deficiency.
So what's all the fuss about vitamin D…what does it actually do and why do the people who live in the northern latitudes of the earth tend to lack vitamin D as opposed to their equatorial counterparts?
Well, vitamin D's primary function in the body is to help absorb, transport and metabolize essential minerals. Vitamin D is essential for the synthesis of calcium; without it, calcium would be excreted and will not be absorbed by the body.
Vitamin D also helps regulate the immune system. Vitamin D keeps your bones strong, strengthens your body against winter colds and flu, helps prevent heart disease and auto-immune diseases.
Many people in high latitudes are deficient in Vitamin D because sunlight is insufficient during the winters to stimulate the production of vitamin D in skin. With the colder weather, we spend less time outdoors and when we are outdoors, we try to cover as much skin as possible. During the summer, most people who go outdoors wear sun screen instead of getting a healthy dose of at least 20 minutes of sunshine.
We get our vitamin D from both sun exposure and certain foods, although getting direct sun on your skin is one of the easiest and best ways in which you get vitamin D.
Over the last couple of years there has been a Vitamin D craze going on due to the large number of people who are Vitamin D deficient…thanks in part to the general paranoia about the sun as a result of warnings about sun exposure.
As a result, physicians and others are advocating high doses of Vitamin D whilst still maintaining their stance that the sun is bad for you. Xtend-Life Chairman, Warren Matthews says: "I think that this is totally wrong…particularly when many of the high dose Vitamin D products are using the cheap synthetic Vitamin D2."
"There can be negative side effects even with moderate overdosing of Vitamin D. Remember when it comes to vitamins 'more' is not always better. Play it conservative and get your Vitamin D from the sun! You could get 20 000IUs from one good session in the sun, but 20 000IUs from a supplement could make you ill."
"For example, when you expose yourself to sunshine, your body makes Vitamin D but not the activated form. It builds up in your fatty tissues and remains there and is released as your body needs it. This is why it is possible in the summer time to get enough Vitamin D from sunshine to last you through the winter."
"In contrast Vitamin D in supplement form has a totally different action and acts differently in the body than the Vitamin D produced by sunshine. The body is designed to get its Vitamin D from the sun as opposed to ingesting it."
"The amount of Vitamin D we have in Total Balance is conservative and appropriate."