The Role of Vitamin D
As mentioned in a previous blog post titled Vitamin D3 – Why Do We Need It?, vitamin D has a significant role in promoting human health. Let’s revisit it. Vitamin D3, or the Sunshine Vitamin, isn’t a vitamin at all. It’s actually a steroid with hormone-like activity. Unlike other vitamins which our body obtains from food, Vitamin D3 is synthesised in our skin when exposed to sunlight.
It also directly impacts almost every major aspect of our health. There is a growing body of evidence for vitamin D across a wide spectrum of health issues. Further studies have shown even more positive effects of Vitamin D3 which include:
- Strengthens bones
- Strengthens the respiratory system
- Strengthens the immune system
- Takes care of dental health
- Aids proper digestion and food absorption
- Lowers the risk of cancer
- Lowers the risk of heart disease. It’s been proven that Vitamin D3 helps suppress inflammation of the heart and blood vessels
- Decreases chances of getting age-associated blood pressure fluctuations
- Lowers risk of autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS), type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and autoimmune thyroid disease etc.
Vitamin D Deficiency in Australia
In Australia and New Zealand, most of the population gets its Vitamin D3 from sunlight instead of dietary sources. That makes it particularly hard to reach the recommended daily intake (RDI) in winters. Data shows that as many as 31% of adults in this region suffer from Vitamin D3 deficiency. Vitamin D3 deficiency is a worldwide public health concern with over a billion people affected.
People who are most likely to have deficiencies will include those:
- Who are frail or housebound, such as the elderly
- Who never venture outdoors without sunscreen
- Who always wear concealing clothing
Extended lockdowns, particularly in Victoria, have played a significant role in curbing the spread of COVID-19, but have also put most residents in the high-risk category of Vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin D and COVID-19 Immunity – Is The Jury Out?
Building upon a medical review from 2017 in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) that showed how Vitamin D supplementation helped against respiratory viral infections, such as colds and the flu. The link between Vitamin D and our immune system clearly shows that low levels of Vitamin D can make us more susceptible to viral and respiratory infections.
There isn’t, however, any concrete evidence that links Vitamin D to any degree of COVID-19 immunity directly at the present time.
“As a key nutrient in our diet, vitamin D should be given particular focus – not as a ‘magic bullet’ to beat COVID-19, as the scientific evidence base is severely lacking at this time—but rather as part of a healthy lifestyle strategy to ensure that populations are nutritionally in the best possible place.”As stated in a more recent research paper from the BMJ
Which brings us to the main point – optimum/healthy levels of Vitamin D can help build our general immunity and is essential for multiple body functions.
Supplementation of Vitamin D is a simple step that can be implemented quickly, cheaply and with ease to ensure a functioning immune system.
We recommend getting your Vitamin D levels checked by your general medical practitioner.
At Heathershaw’s, our compound pharmacists can tailor make a dosage of Vitamin D that can help you meet your recommended daily requirement.
Note – This product may not be right for you. Always consult your pharmacist and read the label, including warnings and instructions for use, before consumption. Vitamin and mineral supplements should not replace a balanced diet.