The ‘sunshine’ vitamin is one we really miss in the UK during the winter months (sometimes even in the summer months too!) Vitamin D is essential for normal calcium absorption, it also contributes to normal muscle function and normal function of the immune system.
It’s vitally important to stay topped up on this crucial vitamin, so much so that many countries including America, Canada, Australia and Sweden, have specially developed foods fortified with vitamin D in order to prevent deficiency in their populations.
Who’s at risk?
One of the age groups most at risk of deficiency are those aged 55 and older. Recent Hospital Episode Statistic data from 2013/14 showed that those aged 55+ were 258% more likely to be diagnosed with a vitamin D deficiency than those between the ages of 25-55.
Other groups of people more likely to have lower levels of vitamin D include:
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women
- Babies and children under five years’ old
- Those aged sixty-five and older
- Those who spend long periods of time indoors
- Those who cover up with clothing when outside
- Darker skinned people e.g., those of African, Afro-Caribbean and South Asian origin
Where can I get vitamin D?
Our bodies produce vitamin D when exposed to sunlight - hence why it is known as ‘the sunshine vitamin’. In climates furthest from the equator, especially in the winter months, vitamin D deficiency is common due to a lack of sunlight and as we age our ability to produce vitamin D also declines.
A natural food source rich in vitamin D is the flesh of fatty fish (e.g., salmon, tuna and mackerel). Small amounts of vitamin D are also found in beef liver, cheese and egg yolks. As very few foods naturally contain high levels of vitamin D, some fortified foods have been introduced in the US (e.g., milk, margarine, cereals), which constitute the major source of vitamin D in the American diet; unfortunately these are not currently available in the UK.
An alternative source of vitamin D is a nutritional supplement such as Vitamin D from FutureYou by Cambridge Nutraceuticals. FutureYou’s Vitamin D is a high-strength, one-a-day formulation, which is highly absorbable to ensure that you get a welcome boost of the sunshine vitamin every day, whatever the weather.
What happens if I don’t get enough?
Vitamin D is necessary to help absorb calcium, which is needed for strong bones and teeth. If someone has a lack of vitamin D then calcium cannot be absorbed as effectively, which results in weaker bones. An extreme long term vitamin D deficiency in childhood can result in rickets, which leads to bowed legs in children and increased likelihood of bone fractures and bone pain and tenderness (osteomalacia) in adults. Although rickets is still thankfully rare in developed countries such as the UK, there is evidence that cases of vitamin D deficiency are on the rise. A nationwide survey showed that more than 50% of the adult population have insufficient levels of vitamin D and that 16% have severe deficiency during winter and spring.
The magic ingredient - black pepper
In the interest of delivering more of the good stuff to you, FutureYou’s Vitamin D supplement is combined with a black pepper extract (piperine) to improve its absorption. Piperine is known for improving the bioavailability (absorption) of a number of compounds. By combining Vitamin D with pepper in our new capsules we are throwing a powerful punch at one of the most difficult seasons of the year.