The most under-rated winter health factor
Probably the single most important immune booster
It may not be the most obvious choice for ensuring your immune system is in tip-top shape throughout winter, but Vitamin D is right up there at the top of the charts. It is surely the most under-rated of all the vitamins, minerals, drugs, remedies and devices.
Its poorly recognised value is one of the reasons that the vast majority of the UK population is deficient.
Vitamin D is absolutely essential for your normal health, let alone giving your immune system a boost for the winter months.
If you have the right amount, it not only regulates and supports your immune system, it decreases heart disease, depression and dementia. It is a huge hormone regulator so deficiency leads to all kinds of digestion disruption as well fertility challenges.
Lack of Vitamin D can also be responsible for osteoporosis. It’s a myth that you strengthen bones with calcium from dairy. Osteoporosis is a lack of Vitamin C, D3, K2 and protein. Taking calcium on its own will not be effective. Unless it’s taken with Vitamins C, D and K, calcium will end up in the muscles of the heart, the valves and the blood vessels, predisposing a more likely connection to cardiovascular disease.
And those are just a few of Vitamin D’s functions.
Signs of Vitamin D deficiency include: fatigue, joint and bone pain, muscle pain and weakness, difficulty sleeping, depression, weight gain, hair loss, easily broken bones, frequent illness, slow wound healing, dry skin, brittle nails, anxiety and irritability.
Another reason that deficiency is so devastating in the UK is that our bodies manufacture it from sunlight, and our climate isn’t exactly reliably shiny and bright.
Ideally you’d be out in the sun sufficiently in summer for your body to store enough Vitamin D to last you through the dark winter days. Of course, most of us spend most of our lives indoors and even when we’re out, we simply don’t expose enough skin, where the receptors are.
Even so, the more often you can get outside in winter, the more you will enhance your chance of topping up your Vitamin D level.
What you can do to protect yourself
We definitely recommend taking a Vitamin D supplement. Already taking one?
Firstly, many people take vitamin D however do not realise it’s often too low a dose for what their body needs.
Secondly, you need to make sure it’s Vitamin D3 and ideally sourced from a good quality brand so you get maximum absorption.
And thirdly, you need to make sure your body is able to absorb it.
Three things you need to absorb Vitamin D
- Vitamin K2
- Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs)
Many vitamin D3 supplements come with K2 as part of the formulation. If not, you can also get it through probiotic foods and EFAs.
Good gut bacteria allows you to absorb Vitamin D and other nutrients from your food, and it’s also what enables you to make Vitamin K2. So a healthy gut is crucial for your immune system – around 80% of it is dependent on the gut function.
Most of us have an unhealthy balance of good and bad bacteria because the Western diet doesn’t support gut flora. Gluten and antibiotics severely disrupt this delicate balance.
You can improve your gut flora by eating fermented foods such as: sauerkraut, kefir, pickled foods (without added sugar) and natural organic yogurt.
You can also take probiotic supplements, in which case change the type from time to time to give yourself different strains of bacteria.
Essential Fatty Acids (Omega 3)
EFAs are healthy fats, which your body cannot make therefore you must obtain them from food. They’re essential because every cell in your body relies on them to function.
They’re necessary for the absorption of Vitamins A, D, E and K because all are fat-soluble, meaning that your body needs fats to be able to use these vitamins.
If you’re taking Vitamin D3, you want to make sure that your body can use it! So you need to ensure that you have have enough healthy fats in your system.
What do we mean by healthy fats? The main EFAs are Omega 3 and Omega 6.
You can get them in small quantities in green vegetables – richer sources are nuts, seeds, avocado, raw (unpasteurised) dairy.
Grass-fed meat and wild cold-water fish such as sardines, salmon, trout, snapper, scallops, herring and mackerel are packed with EFAs.
You can also get them in fresh olive oil (as long as you don’t heat it up), flax seed oils, coconut oil, shea butter and food supplement Omega oils.
Where you WON’T get them is in most supermarket oils. Almost all have been damaged by destructive processing techniques, including refining, bleaching, overheating, and/or partial hydrogenation. It’s best to avoid rapeseed/canola, corn oil, and to avoid heating olive oil for cooking.
Most of the health problems usually blamed on fats should be blamed on the destructive processing of fats, normally used to gain longer shelf life and greater convenience for manufacturers and consumers when they’re added to processed foods.
The hidden risk of fat-free and low-fat products
Manufacturers balance the lack of flavour and texture in products with low or no fat by adding extra chemicals and sugars to their already processed ingredients.
It’s a disaster for your body, and not just because you can’t absorb your fat-soluble vitamins.
Lack of fat puts extreme stress on your liver. You need it to keep your cholesterol low and to burn bad fats.
It may be counter-intuitive after decades of advertising but generally speaking, it’s healthier to choose the full-fat option.
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“Fabulous treatment. The practice is stunning; classy, clean and modern and the support team are so helpful and welcoming. Can’t recommend this practice enough. Also really enjoying Jason’s book ‘Thrive’ – a must for anyone who takes any interest in their own mental and physical wellbeing!”
We hope you enjoyed Halloween and Fireworks night. If you’re finding that you have any persistent aches and pains after standing at displays for extended periods or looking up for too long, you know where we are.
If you know someone who could benefit from this blog post, please share it with them. We offer a complimentary spine check to anyone who is interested in how chiropractic may be able to help them. You can book this online, or by calling 0208 295 1733.
Filed Under: Health Tips
Tags: immune system, vitamin d
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