During the summer months, it is great to know that simply stepping outside for a few moments to enjoy the warmth of the sun’s rays on your skin is doing more than just putting a smile on your face – it’s boosting your vitamin D levels too!
Vitamin D is made in our skin cells, in response to being exposed to UV rays from sunlight. During the winter months, however, studies show that up to half of people in the UK could be deficient in this important vitamin.
This year the clocks are going back on the 30th October, signalling the end of British Summer Time and the beginning of colder, shorter days. For many of us, this means missing out on those precious hours of sunlight, and therefore vitamin D, as we sit at our desks or keep warm indoors.
Most of us are aware of the important role vitamin D plays in bone health, as well as the regulation of calcium and phosphorus, which helps to reduce the risks of developing conditions like osteoporosis. However, latest research is suggesting there could be even more to this vitamin than we think.
According to NHS England, cardiovascular disease is one of the main causes of death and disability in the UK. Cardiovascular disease generally refers to conditions that involve narrowed or blocked blood vessels that can lead to a heart attack, chest pain (angina) or stroke. Recently, inadequate levels of vitamin D have been linked to an increased prevalence and incidence of cardiovascular disease.
The term ‘auto-immune diseases’ refers to a wide range of conditions where the body’s immune system fails to recognise the difference between ‘self’ and ‘non-self’. When this happens, the immune system destroys cells and tissues of the body thinking they are foreign invaders. Conditions such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes mellitus, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) all fall under this definition. Numerous studies have shown that there is an association between vitamin D deficiency and these conditions, as well as the ways in which vitamin D may prevent and even treat auto-immune disorders.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia, affecting over 800,000 people in the UK. It is a progressive neurological disease affecting many functions of the brain. Scientists know that the brain relies on vitamin D receptors to protect itself against things that can damage it, but only recently has there been more research in this area. The latest studies show that adults with a deficiency in this vitamin have a 53% increased risk of developing dementia. Alarmingly, this risk rises to 125% for those with a severe deficiency.
The prevalence of vitamin D deficiency increases with distance from the equator, and Northern European countries have the highest rates of deficiency. This is why it is so important to identify other sources of getting sufficient levels of this ‘sunshine vitamin’, especially when the sun is not shining!
At Hey Like Wow, our aim has always been to provide an easy and enjoyable way of including more vitamins and minerals in your diet. This is why vitamin D is just one of the vitamins we have added to our range of healthy, vitamin-enriched, sugar and preservative free, soft drinks.SHARE: