If you live in the UK or Northern Europe, at this time of year I highly recommend getting your vitamin D levels checked.
You may be able to get your GP or health care provider to check these for you, but if not, there is a simple and inexpensive home test that I recommend to my clients. The kit is delivered directly to your door and costs £29. Here is the link:
Vitamin D is actually a hormone which has many roles within the body, including protecting your bones, supporting your heart health and blood pressure and bolstering your immune system. All of which are particularly important during mid-life and menopause.
Deficiencies in vitamin D have been linked to cognitive and mood issues including depression, increased risk of certain cancers (breast and colon) and increased risk of autoimmune diseases such as psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis and thyroid diseases.
The problem with vitamin D is that you can only store enough vitamin D for about 2 months. Your levels can also be decreased by stress…Some research has shown that up to 90% of people living in the UK are deficient in vitamin D!
The main source of vitamin D comes from direct sunlight (without sunscreen). By November in the UK, your levels are likely to be getting quite low. You can get very small amounts of Vitamin D from foods such as egg yolks, meat and oily fish, but not enough to get your stores up to an adequate level if you are deficient.
I recommend testing first and if your levels are below 50iu, I suggest taking a supplement during the winter months. In the UK this would be between November – March, unless you are lucky enough to be spending a few weeks in the sun this winter! This should be the D3 form and not D2. Dosage will vary by product so follow the recommendations on the packaging.
You are also need to make sure that you are eating a healthy diet to obtain adequate levels of other essential nutrients such as zinc, magnesium, vitamin K and vitamin A which support the use of vitamin D in the body.
NB You should always check with your GP or health care provider before starting any new supplements
Too much vitamin D can be toxic but is quite rare (but another reason to test first)