Vitamin D is amazing. It can help all sorts of health conditions. If we are deficient in Vitamin D it can lead to all sorts of problems.
In the 2010 BMJ clinical review on Vitamin D deficiency, research showed that vitamin D deficiency can increase the risk of developing a number of chronic conditions. These include Heart Disease, Bowel Cancer, Breast Cancer, Multiple Sclerosis and Diabetes. Other research has indicated that Vitamin D can help relieve the symptoms of asthma and lower blood pressure. Studies also show that it is thought to lower Cancer risk and improve mental health.
The body needs vitamin D to help absorb calcium and phosphate. These are substances that help keep our bones healthy and strong. So even on a very simple physical level it has real benefits. I am very aware of Noah, my two year old, needing to grown up with strong bones and he gets a good supply in his soya milk which is fortified with vitamin D. He also loves taking a supplement. To my amazement he thinks of them like other children would think of sweets, a real treat.
Without taking tablets we can get Vitamin D from the sun and also from our diet. We all have become hyper aware of avoiding too much sun because of the risk of skin cancer and this, combined with the often cloudy skies, can make our own Vitamin D production difficult.
Looking to our diet can provide some help. If we can work some oily fish, such as salmon, sardines and mackerel into our diets then this will boost our levels. I regularly have a tin of mackerel in tomato sauces on a bed of fresh spinach leaves for my lunch. It may not appeal to everyone but I truly love it and it is a quick, easy and healthy meal. If you are able to eat dairy then eggs can be a source of Vitamin D too.
For me my Vitamin D intake is so essential because it is thought to reduce the risk of relapse in MS sufferers. So what ever the weather and however much fish I have eaten I still take my supplements. It is a safety net for me. Why would I risk my levels dropping when the supplements are so easy to take.
I take a high does of Vitamin D, 5000 IU a day, my levels are low and I work indoors so this works for me and keeps my levels in the right range. The NHS recommends 400 IU for pregnant and breast feeding women and those over 65. Other studies recommend 600 IU for adults. A blood test is a good way to know whether you are getting enough.
For those with MS we aim to keep our levels well above the NHS guidelines. If you take a bit too much it comes out in your urine so I don’t worry about that. There are some studies that show harmful effects of too much Vitamin D but they are based on those taking 50.000 IU a day for several months, even I am not that extreme!
To remember to take my vitamin D I have a mindful little game with myself. Whenever I boil the kettle I try and take the length of time it takes the kettle to boil to check in with myself, concentrate on my breathing and see how my body feels. I put the pot of vitamin D tablets next to my Redbush tea. When I make myself a cuppa in the morning, finding my self in a post kettle, mindful moment, I am reminded to take it.
Part of being mindful is looking after ourselves, being kind to ourselves and doing what we can to keep ourselves in good health. If we are constantly in a rush with a hectic mind we forget the small, but important, things we can do for ourselves.
When we take small steps to improve our health we feel pleased with our efforts. When we feel good we start to take more pride in our appearance and in our actions. So taking something we know is good for our health can impact on so many area of our life. The nourishment spreads much further than we might expect from one small tablet.
Come on a Revitalise Day to learn other small steps that can get you into a lifetime full of health living.