Hurrah! You've survived the cold, dark days of winter, and it's time to to come out of hibernation! But there's something that may not have survived so well... Your vitamin D levels. That's because the primary source of vitamin D is the exposure of our skin to the summer sun.
Spring is a perfect time to check your levels since they are likely at their lowest point of the entire year. And you really should care if your levels are low! Vitamin D is linked to over 300 processes in the body--it's not just for calcium absorption and bone health, baby! Low vitamin D levels are now associated with everything from fatigue and cardiovascular disease to auto-immune conditions, neurological degeneration, and cancer. And this makes sense because we evolved in the sunshine, so no wonder it's absolutely critical to all-round healthy functioning of our body.
A great way to test your vitamin D level is with an at-home finger prick test. The kits are quick, easy, and relatively inexpensive. In the UK and Europe, you can purchase NHS kits directly, via Amazon, or through my website. In the US, the Vitamin D Council sells them to the general public. Of course, you can also ask your doctor to test your levels, especially if you're experiencing any symptoms relating to low vitamin D.
Once you get your results, it's time to decide, 'what next?' I like to aim for for an optimal blood level between 100-125 nmol/L. If you are significantly below this, you might want to think about short-term higher dose of vitamin D supplementation between 2000 iu and 5000 iu daily and then re-test 60 days later to see if your levels have reached optimal yet or not. Otherwise, an adult maintenance dose around 1000 iu daily is generally considered safe.
However, lots of other factors come into play with vitamin D. The first is your particular genetic requirement for it. About half of my clients require more vitamin D than the government's recommended daily allowance. You'll need to do genetic testing to determine this, which could be a great idea. There's a pattern that I'm seeing with my clients... those with a raised vitamin D requirement also seem more likely to have developed one of those conditions above linked to low vitamin D status. Which makes sense and also makes understanding your personal vitamin D needs an important key to unlocking your optimal health!
Vitamin D also works in the body with several other nutrients, especially vitamins K and A, magnesium, and boron. If your diet isn't great or you're not eating lots of leafy greens and a wide variety of vegetables, vitamin D may not perform its functions correctly within your body. Ideally, look at making some changes to your nutrition! But in the absence of that, a good multivitamin taken alongside vitamin D could help.
Want to find out your unique genetic vitamin D requirement? It's included within all of my genetic nutrition programmes!
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