From the Dr.’s Desk


VITAMIN D, THE SUNSHINE VITAMIN

Here in Canada we get very little sunshine, particularly in comparison to people living close to the equator. Studies have shown that dark-skinned people need more sunshine than people of a fair skin color in order to make vitamin D in their skin. Dietary sources of vitamin D include vitamin D-fortified milk products, fish oils, fish liver and also eggs, but the majority of vitamin D is made in our body from the sunlight. During winter we get even less sunlight and so the vitamin D level in our body decreases even further. In the summertime many of us protect our skin by using sunblock but unfortunately this almost completely stops our bodies from making vitamin D.

Vitamin D is so important for so many different functions in our body. It helps to build bone and muscle. In particular it has been found to be very important for athletes and that it helps them to be fast and strong. It is important for the development of the brain and it has been found to be low in people with depression and poor memory. It helps to prevent us getting colds and even the flu. It helps our bodies to absorb calcium from our diets. Vitamin D has also been found to be important in preventing diabetes. Some studies have shown that by taking vitamin D elderly people are able to walk with better coordination.

Low levels of vitamin D have been found in people with different types of cancer – in particular, breast and prostate cancer. Previously, the recommendation has been to take between 200-400iu of vitamin D3 per day. Recent research has shown us that this is not enough vitamin D3. It has been recommended by some experts to take 1000iu to even 5000 units per day.

Vitamin D3 supplements can be detrimental to people with certain types of diseases so it’s wise to discuss this with your health care provider, and of course, always look for a high quality vitamin supplement.

Dr Manjit Gosal MB ChB.
A4M Certified Advanced Fellowship in Anti-Aging, Functional and Nutritional Medicine