Vitamin D Supplements?

Here’s another item from the i paper – We are now being urged to take Vitamin D tablets:

Public Health England said Vitamin D was vital for bone and muscle health but that people were generally not getting enough in winter. It said everyone should ensure they were getting 10 micrograms … per day, and should consider a supplement, and breastfed babies and young children must be given a supplement to boos t their intake.

Sunlight is the main source of vitamin D but the SACN was unable to say how much sun was the “right amount” owing to differences in how people’s bodies convert Vitamin D.

Lack of Vitamin D can cause or at least exacerbate depression, so it is not just about bones, and we have a serious problem with mental health at the moment, especially depression because life has become so hard for so many people.

People on well balanced diets should be getting enough Vitamin D without supplements. Even in northern parts of the UK there is enough sunlight to convert the vitamin’s precursors to the beneficial vitamin. About a decade ago there was a scare over the rise in rickets here. It turned out to be in a group of Asians who had moved here, their bread was no longer vitamin D enriched, and they were not getting enough sunlight, so by changing the flour they cooked with and sitting in the sun, the problem was solved.

There seem to be two major types of people who may need supplements: those who don’t go out enough, or when they do are completely covered up, and people who spend too much time staring at screens. Both of these can be helped, or fixed, by lifestyle changes.

A few years ago I found myself getting pretty depressed in the middle of a bad winter and not able to get out much so I went to my GP to ask for some Vitamin D supplement.

He refused.

He told me to make an appointment for a blood test with the nurse, which would take 6 weeks, then come back and he would prescribe the vitamin if necessary. So, best part of 2 months to fix it.

I got some from a health food shop instead. So good luck to anyone trying to get a supplement on the NHS.

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5 thoughts on “Vitamin D Supplements?

  1. I do find it rather a marketing ploy! But it depends on lifestyle. 25 years ago i was working in westminster. i drove down to the M3 every day to catch a relatively cheap bus at 05.20. it got to green park around 7.15. by the time i left at 5.40 pm it was dark again in winter. the office was a basement with one small window not at street level….

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  2. I had a poorly episode a few years back and during investigation was found to have very low vitamin D – this at the end of a summer in which I had been outside doing a lot of gardening (didn’t take 2 months to test, we must have a better turnaround here). I don’t think the health issue was caused by low vit D but it wouldn’t have helped – and I was struck by how easy it must be to become deficient. So now I take my dose, especially in winter.

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  3. There is a third group who also need supplements, those who do not metabolize Vitamin D efficiently. Even living in a sunny climate with an adequate diet and sufficiently uncovered skin, it is still possible to be Vitamin D deficient to the point of osteoporosis. This seems to be a hereditary condition. This article is a few years old but explains relatively recent research.
    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-genes-vitamin-d-idUSTRE6586QF20100609
    My own family history would point to a hereditary component despite the sunshine and, as children, having cod liver oil (shudder!) forced down our throats in winter.

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    • Thats for this. I think most kids post war had that stuff forced onto them. We were given a milky stuff called Hypol that continued it. I suffer fro psoriasis which seems to be from a shortage of various oils. I developed it soon after we stopped taking the stuff. I wonder if the artificial levels of it caused my body to become dependent on it.
      I am not anti any kinds of supplements. I just think it should be where there is a need. Most of us should get what we need from a modern diet and reasonable access to sunlight. I know parents who force their kids to take Vit D if they have using their computers a lot. A walk in the park would be better.

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