The importance of Vitamin D

The importance of Vitamin D

In this issue we want to provide you with a some very good reasons why it would be wise to maintain your vitamin D levels. It is especially important now that we are in the throes of winter.

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Although vitamin D is classed as a vitamin outside the body, in the body it acts like a hormone rather than a vitamin.
A common misconception is that Vitamin D is made when one is in the sun, when in fact, the process of making vitamin D is as follows:

  • The action of sunlight on the skin causes the pre-cursor of vitamin D to be made in the skin.
  • This precursor then travels to the liver and then the kidneys where active vitamin D is made.
  • Sunscreen is a limiting factor for the production of Vitamin D

This vitamin is truly extraordinary in its beneficial activity in the body and there is much more research underway into the amazing properties of vitamin D.
PLEASE NOTE: there are some medical conditions where vitamin D supplementation is contraindicated so check with your health professional.

Vitamin D to reduce the risk of breast cancer

In the following paper there is compelling evidence given to support the use of vitamin D to reduce the risk of breast cancer which is summed up in the Conclusions paragraph:
Click here to read journal

Vitamin D and pain

The British Medical Journal published a comprehensive report on vitamin D which can be found in the link below.
The report discusses vitamin D insufficiency as well as deficiency, dosing regimens and includes a list of the people most at risk of vitamin D deficiency and argues for the value of increasing the reference range. Of interest is a list of the types of symptoms found in vitamin D deficient adults.
On page 145 of the link the following statement can be found:
“Pain and proximal muscle weakness dominate the clinical picture of vitamin D deficiency in adults. Rib, hip, pelvis, thigh, and foot pain are typical. More diffuse muscular aches, and muscle weakness, including in the limbs and back, are also common and may be labelled as “fibromyalgia” or as a somatisation of depression”
Click here to read clinical review.

Vitamin D and Type II Diabetes

Vitamin D has been implicated in a number of studies to improve insulin resistance which has implications for improving Type II Diabetes and weight loss.
The following study was done right here in New Zealand and concluded the following:
“ In conclusion, improving vitamin D status in insulin resistant women resulted in improved IR and sensitivity, but no change in insulin secretion. Optimal vitamin D concentrations for reducing IR were shown to be 80–119 nmol/l, providing further evidence for an increase in the recommended adequate levels.”
Click here to read journal.

Vitamin D and menstrual pain

A study published in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) found that a one off high dose of Vitamin D improved menstrual pain and reduced the amount of pain relief required.
Click here to read journal.

Vitamin D – Low mood and cognitive performance

A study published in The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry concluded the following:
“In a cross-section of older adults, vitamin D deficiency was associated with low mood and with impairment on two of four measures of cognitive performance”.
Click here to read study.

Healthy Babies

Healthy Babies

Men

There are many nutrients that promote the formation of healthy sperm to enhance fertility for couples who are planning for a baby. Different nutrients have different effects on sperm production and the important ones include: increasing sperm count, increasing sperm quality and improving motility which means how active and in-motion the sperm are. This is an important factor in achieving conception.

Carnitine is an amino acid from protein that increases sperm motility. The richest food sources include lamb and beef with dairy at a distant third. Clinical trials that have achieved this benefit were 3000mg/day. Zinc can increase the sperm count, motility and quality. Oysters are a great source of zinc and meat runs a distant second.Folate can increase sperm count. Rich food sources include whole grains such as rye and wheat, chickpeas (hummus), spinach and brewer’s yeast*.

Vitamin B12 can increase sperm count. Meat, brewer’s yeast*, tempeh (Indonesian soy food), sardines and nori (sushi) are good sources of B12. Co-enzyme Q10 may assist in male fertility through improving sperm count and motility. CoQ10 is concentrated in the sperm where it is involved in energy production. Sardines, mackerel and soybean oil are very rich in CoQ10.

 Women

Babies need some key nutrients for their healthy development especially for the healthy growth and development of the brain and nervous system.

Vitamin B6 – needed for healthy brain development. Rich in beef, bananas, avocado, chicken, hazelnuts, salmon and walnuts. Vitamin B12 is needed for the formation of nerves, in particular the outer myelin sheath of the nerve which is required for the conduction of nerve impulses. Food sources include: meat, brewers yeast*, tempeh (Indonesian soy food), sardines and nori (sushi) are good sources of B12.

Folate is well known for preventing neural tube defects and foods rich in this very important nutrient include: whole grains such as rye and
wheat, chickpeas (hummus), spinach and brewer’s yeast*.

Choline – is needed for the myelin sheath around the nerves. The riches sources are lecithin and beef. Zinc is crucial for many aspects of development of the baby including normal weight and growth. Oysters are a great source of zinc and meat runs a distant second. Ideally your pregnancy multi will have some zinc in it. Iodine is needed for healthy brain development and can lower the risk of behavioural problems in children. Good food sources include
seaweeds such as nori (sushi) and wakame (in miso soup). There are some very tasty seaweed shakers in health food shops which can be sprinkled over salads and sandwiches. Thyroid hormone is dependant on iodine for its synthesis in the body and is critical for the development of the nervous system during pregnancy.

Fish oil – Fish has two substances that are of interest to us in regards to healthy babies. DHA (docohexanoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentanoic acid). In terms of a healthy nervous system, both, are important. The richest source of DHA in the body is in the nerve endings where it enables the nerves to communicate with other nerves.

EPA has an anti-inflammatory effect and has been shown to be useful in behavioural problems where inflammation plays a significant role. A pregnant woman who is not allergic to fish would ideally consider fish oil as a supplement both during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Please note vegetable sources of oils are not as rich in these substances as fish oil. Food sources include kahawai, salmon (fresh is preferable over farmed), fresh tuna, mackerel and herring.

Vitamin D has a role in promoting a healthy birth weight, healthy bones, teeth and nervous system. It is synthesised in the body as a result of
exposing the skin to sunlight. Iron may become deficient during pregnancy and should be supplemented only when needed. Your lead maternity caregiver can order a blood test if needed. Rich in brewer’s yeast*, kelp*, pumpkin seeds, molasses, sunflower seeds, almonds, molasses and beef.

* Popcorn sprinkled with brewers yeast and a little kelp provides a very tasty snack as well as covering many of the nutrients listed above.