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Vitamin D and COVID-19

Vitamin D has been hitting the news for a few years now, as more and more research shows that those living in the northern hemisphere are more at risk of deficiencies especially during winter.

Normal levels of vitamin D mean that your body’s ability to regulate essential chemicals for healthy bones, teeth, muscles and organs is properly aided by vitamin D.

Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium. If you don’t get enough vitamin D you might feel tired, get sick often, have weak bones and muscle pain, and feel anxious or depressed.

Your body is able to make all the vitamin D you need when your skin is exposed to sunlight. But when sunlight exposure is low during autumn and winter, it’s really common for your vitamin D levels to drop — putting you at risk of developing a deficiency.

You can get vitamin D from foods like oily fish, liver, egg yolks, and fortified food but it’s hard to get enough this way.

You might also be at an increased risk of developing vitamin D deficiency if you:

  • are vegan or vegetarian
  • have darker skin
  • are elderly
  • always wear sunscreen
  • stay indoors a lot
  • cover up most of your skin outdoors

What are the most common symptoms?

The most common symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include:

  • getting sick often
  • feeling tired
  • aching bones and joints
  • weak bones — increasing your risk of osteoporosis
  • poor wound healing
  • weak muscles
  • depression

There are many companies now offering a private Vitamin D blood tests , and in some instances your GP may be able to provide a test. Even though, there is still debate about how much we actually need, most experts agree that below 25 nmol/L (or 10 ng/ml) is considered deficient.

Some experts argue 25-30 nmol/L in the blood is sufficient, some say over 50 nmol/L is optimal for good bone health for most people, while others again advocate for 75 nmol/L or even higher. Susan looks at levels of 70- 120 for her clients to ensure optimal health.

Recent research by Boston University have shown that individuals with a blood level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D of at least 75 nmol/L, had a significant decreased risk for adverse clinical outcomes including becoming unconscious, hypoxia and death. In addition they had lower blood levels of inflammatory marker ( C- Reactive protein) and higher levels of lymphocytes.

During autumn and winter, Public Health England advises that everyone should consider taking a 10 mcg daily vitamin D supplement from October to March. And if you’re more at-risk, they recommend taking them year round. The recommended doses for at-risk groups include:

  • 8.5-10 mcg daily for breastfed babies from birth to 1 year
  • 10 mcg daily for children aged 1-4 years
  • 10 mcg daily for at-risk adults — for example, if you’re elderly or have darker skin

Suitable products contact Susan if you wish to place an order – Free postage on orders over £25. Prices correct as of 26th Sept 2020 – contact Susan for up to date prices.

These products are chosen at own risk, no advise given without a full assessment.

Lamberts Cod Liver oil Professional range – gives you vitamin D and A and  EPA and DHA. – £14.00 – 180 days supply

Allergy Research Vitamin D3 complete – higher dose suitable for those with a diagnosed vitamin D deficiency, also contains vitamin A and K – £ 27.00 – 60 day supply – Not suitable for those taking blood thinning medications

Biocare – Vitamin D3 –  1000iu – Vegan – £12 – 60 capsules

DLux 4000 Vitamin D Daily Oral Spray 15ml- £9 – Vegetarian

Lamberts Professional Range – Vitamin D3 Drops 20ml – suitable for all the family £8.20

Other vitamins and supplements from Susan’s supplier Natural Dispensary may be added to order, just let her know what you require.

weight loss

Calories versus nutritional intake

Many people on diets when they are trying to lose weight, think about low-fat foods rather than the nutritional value of the foods they are consuming.  Some then may consume large amounts of these foods, because they may be ‘free’ on their particular diet plan, or they perceive them to be heathy, though these foods may not always be the best choice

When just calorie counting, because high fat food are calorie dense they are often avoided,  and you could end up eating a very nutritionally poor diet and even become malnourished, especially if you live on a low-fat diet for long periods of time, and take no additional supplements or minerals. The government recommended 2000 Calories for women is based on nutritional need as well as energy.

Some vitamins are fat soluble in particular A, D, E and  K, and foods that are high sources of these vitamins are often avoided in those following a low-fat diet, and small amounts of theses vitamins are required in the diet to promote growth, reproduction, and health.

Vitamin A – It occurs naturally only in foods of animal origin, such as liver, butter, whole milk, and egg yolks, but the body converts certain carotenoids (found in some fruit and vegetables), especially β-carotene, to vitamin A.

Vitamin D –  occurs naturally only in animal foods such as liver, butter, fatty fish (fish containing high levels of cholesterol or fatty acids as glycerides), and egg yolks. It is also synthesised in the body from sunlight. Vitamin D is essential for bone health since it serves to maintain serum calcium concentrations, which in turn influence bone mineralization.

Vitamin E  –  is an important antioxidant that is thought to protect polyunsaturated fatty acids from oxidative destruction in cell membranes. Vegetable oils are the richest source of vitamin E. Other good sources include nuts, seeds, whole grains, and wheat germ.

Vitamin K  – is needed in the liver for formation of several blood clotting factors. Larger amounts of vitamin K are present in dark-green leafy vegetables; lower levels are found in cereals, dairy products, meats, and fruits.

Yogurt itself is a nutritional powerhouse as part of a balanced diet,  yogurt can be a great source of protein, calcium, iodine and vitamin B12. Fermented dairy products have long been considered to be beneficial to digestive health, and yogurt has even been associated with lower risk of obesity and cardio metabolic risk in both children and adults. Natural, ‘plain’ and Greek-style yogurts were found to have a dramatically different nutrient profile from all other types of yogurt, containing much higher levels of protein, lower carbohydrates level and the least amount of sugar, with the average of five grams per 100g, largely made up of naturally occurring lactose.

Take a look at three yogurts, first a low-fat fruit yogurt.  It’s virtually fat-free, provides a good amount of calcium, but if your diet is lacking in vitamin D you won’t see the benefit. Per 100g of this product 7.1g is labelled as sugar, the source of this sugar does not have to be separated so this level will be spread between milk sugar (Lactose), the added strawberries (10% of product), and the added fructose.  A full fat plain yogurt with nothing added tends to have around 4.7g-5g of sugar per 100g, so this low fat yoghurt has over 2g of added sugar per 100g (a pot being 175g), very little of this will be from the strawberry, with the remaining added as fructose and to ensure a sweet tasting product added aspartame. The danger arises when individuals see these as healthy alternatives, they may have 1, 2 or even more per day, but with each pot containing the equivalent of around 1 teaspoon of added sugar, this can soon add up.

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A full fat organic strawberry yogurt, is nearly 100% more calories per 100g, and has 4% fat, with similar protein levels and over 3g more sugar, than a low-fat version. The fat content will help you stay fuller for longer so long-term you may only need one yogurt rather than three, and the fat will contain vitamin D to help you absorb the calcium.  This strawberry yogurt product is honest and specifies they add 4.9% of sugar per per 100g, but many do not ,they just state added sugars just total sugars, making you believe that the sugars are from fruit and therefore healthy. This yogurt is served in 100g portions so not as bad as you may think.

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The third option plain greek yogurt and add your own fruit, nuts, seed, no need to add any additional sugar.

Below, shows that a 100g of greek yogurt with 4 strawberries and 1/2 tablespoon of pumpkins seeds, this is 2g less sugar than the low fat version, but will have more strawberries, and added protein, it also gives you a little fibre. This is a higher fat and calorie version but the fat should help you to feel fuller for longer, making it a suitable breakfast. Greek Yogurts tend to be lower in lactose and higher in protein than other yogurts, but make sure you read the labels since some manufacturers add thickening agents to regular yogurt, and market it as “Greek-style” yogurt, which may not share the same health benefits as Greek yogurt.

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The three strawberry yogurts compared based on their serving size:-

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Supplements

Better You Products

Better You products are popular with many being in a convenient spray form.

Vitamin D

Essential for calcium absorption, maintaining healthy bones and teeth, supporting a healthy immune system and contributing to normal muscle function.  Vitamin D is recommended in the UK for many individuals, during the winter months.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is a notoriously difficult to absorb through diet alone for many individuals. It is essential to support cognitive function and plays an important role in ensuring healthy red blood cell formation, proven to help reduce tiredness and fatigue.

Vegans often need to supplement B12 if not consuming fortified products.

Magnesium

Very popular with runners to help their muscles after a run and for individuals with restless legs.

 

Note: Information on products does not constitute advice, if you require personal recommendations on products and dosages please make an appointment with Susan.