I was with Phillip Day for over 6 hours and boy that man can talk. I was captivated, interested and moved by what he had to say. One of the greatest impressions that he made on me over the course of the day was the need for Vitamin D.
I patiently explained to him that I know the need for vitamin D and that I diligently go outside, no matter what the weather for a good half an hour each and every day. That’s what we’ve been told to do after all isn’t it?
Phillip explained that in the UK there simply isn’t enough sunlight for us to produce vitamin D during the winter months. From equinox to equinox we will, he says go short. Then we wonder why when spring comes around we get sick.
Now most of us will think of rickets and bone issues with a lack of Vitamin D. In fact Vitamin D has nudged it’s way up the charts of super vitamins to be hailed as one of the most important nutrients to human health. It up regulates around 10% of the human genome. Which in basic terms makes us more resistant to fungi, bacteria and viruses. Worried about flu? Get your shot of Vitamin D.
“current research has implicated vitamin D deficiency as a major factor in the pathology of at least 17 varieties of cancer as well as heart disease, stroke, hyper tension, auto immune diseases, diabetes, depression, chronic pain, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, muscle weakness, muscle wasting, birth defects, periodontal disease, and more”
The Vitamin D Council
In fact Vitamin D isn’t a vitamin but a pre-hormone and it isn’t as easy as as you may imagine to get our fair share. It takes about 48 hours to penetrate the skin and is fat soluble. This means that when we use detergents to wash our skin, or soap for that matter; you’ll be washing a good deal of it down the plughole. Before we all take the best course of action and vow never to wash again; Philip Day offers some practical advice on this:
“Use soap and water on your underarms and naughty bits and water on the rest.”
Many suntan lotions filter out UVB and yet allow UVA, the solar radiation that many scientists believe is the one responsible for the melanoma epidemic.
This is just about being sensible. About allowing your children time in the sun, sunscreen free for a bit each day.
It may also be about supplementation, especially through the winter and especially if you are unwell. My mind drifts to those old people’s homes with row upon row of grannies and grandads sat in chairs often all day; or for those in hospital for weeks at a time; not getting the chance for the sun to warm their faces and certainly not for enough time to harness the beams of what maybe the greatest healer of all.
Phillip Day suggests getting tested. To see what baseline you are starting from. What is required is technically known as a 25-hydroxy D test for calcidiol levels in the blood. If they are feeling magnanimous you may get this from your doctor. But know this; if you are feeling unwell ; you are almost certainly going to find yourself Vitamin D deficient.
Average intake for this life giving substance is 200-400 IU per day.
What is required is 4,000 IU per day.
Your body can store vitamin D, but with these kind of figures it looks as though most of us are falling woefully short. Muslim women and those with darker skin living in colder regions may have even more of a problem. I recently suggested that a Muslim friend of mine get her levels checked by her doctor. She was dangerously low.
So get outside, get checked, get dosed up and don’t wash it all off again.