Vitamin D is receiving increasing coverage as more and more information is released on its role in preventing a number of serious health conditions. Vitamin D is a nutrient that we get from the sun - it is produced endogenously (inside our bodies) by exposure to ultra violet (UV) rays.
Australia-wide, the population is becoming increasingly deficient in this vitamin - even here in the Sunshine State! This has been evidenced by an alarming rise in conditions such as rickets in children and osteoporosis in adults.
Why is Vitamin D so important?
Vitamin D is a vital component of many body processes. These include:
- Calcium absorption and bone mineralisation - this is particularly important in women and those with low bone density.
- Immune function - low levels of vitamin D have been linked to auto immune conditions and chronic ill health.
- Cardiovascular health - low vitamin D has been linked to increased arterial stiffness... in other words a heart attack waiting to happen.
- Blood sugar metabolism and weight management - a recent Australian study showed that people with low vitamin D were more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
Long term health management - vitamin D is an important risk factor in such serious conditions as multiple sclerosis, asthma, Parkinson's disease, allergies, anaphylaxis and some cancers.
How do you know if you're low on vitamin D?
A blood test is the easiest way to check your D status. This is a simple process that can be requested through your GP or here through the clinic. We can refer you directly to QML for a test (approximately $38), which will show conclusively whether you are deficient.
How do you get back to a healthy level?
The most obvious way to increase vitamin D is by increasing sun exposure, but for some people this is not possible or not recommend.
A mild deficiency can be markedly improved by increasing dietary calcium and enjoying short, regular periods of sun exposure - such as sitting in the sunshine to eat your breakfast each morning.
A significant deficiency, however, will require supplementation - sometimes for many months before being re-tested. It is important to discuss this with you practitioner, which will ensure you get an appropriate and effective dose.