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When it comes to a vitamin that protects against a long list of ills, it’s hard to go past vitamin D. As well as being essential for supporting normal growth and maintenance of bones, vitamin D supports the normal function of the immune system, the nervous system and normal muscle function.

There are many research-backed reasons why vitamin D is imperative to healthy living: It may help improve moods, reduce risk of cancer, facilitate weight loss, and even reduce asthma attacks. It seems like every day there’s fresh evidence that vitamin D protects against some disease.

It’s rather unfortunate then, that many of us simply aren’t getting enough of this essential vitamin. You’re probably aware that vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin: you make it when sunlight hits your skin. Yet thanks to workaholic (or TV-aholic) habits, most people don’t make enough. Another culprit is sunscreen and other cosmetics with UV filters which, while protecting us from skin cancer and the ageing effects of the sun, reduce the skin’s ability to synthesise vitamin D.

Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency aren’t always easy to spot. On the more obvious end of the spectrum, being deficient in vitamin D can cause rickets (soft, weak bones) in children and thinning bones in the elderly, but it can also have more subtle effects, such as fatigue, cognitive impairment, joint pain, low immunity, depression, weight gain, and low calcium in the blood (because we need vitamin D to help absorb calcium). There’s even evidence to suggest that vitamin D deficiency plays a role in heart disease, diabetes, multiple sclerosis and cancer.

It’s no wonder that leading infectious-disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in the USA, shares that he takes both vitamin C and vitamin D supplements to reduce susceptibility to infection, and recommends others do the same.

Who should take Vitamin D?

Anyone looking to support their immune system should consider supplementing their diet with vitamin D, but those in the following categories will particularly benefit:

You slather on SPF every day, use cosmetics with UV filters, or otherwise shun the sun. Sun exposure is our main source of vitamin D, and we get drastically less of it in autumn and winter – and also in summer, when judicious applications of sunscreen keeps a majority of the sun’s rays from penetrating the skin. If you spend most of your day indoors, you’re probably not getting enough vitamin D.

You avoid dairy or follow a vegan diet. Few foods naturally contain vitamin D, and foods that are fortified with vitamin D – milk, yoghurts, cheeses, some juices, and some breads – are often inadequate to deliver our daily dose. The best natural sources of vitamin D in the diet are oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and herring and oils from fish, including cod liver oil, according to research from the Vitamin D, Skin, and Bone Research Laboratory at Boston University Medical Center.

You have an inflammatory bowel disease, such as Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis. In fact, scientists are exploring whether taking supplemental vitamin D can help treat these chronic diseases, mainly by reducing inflammation.

You’re a senior citizen. Ageing is associated with decreased concentrations of vitamin D precursors in the skin. According to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 70-year-olds have a 75 percent reduced capacity to manufacture vitamin D in their skin compared to people in their twenties. So as you get older, you actually need more vitamin D because your body isn’t as good at making it as it used to be.

You’re overweight or obese. Vitamin D is fat soluble, which means it’s readily taken up by fat cells – and the more fat cells you have, the more vitamin D gets snatched up, making it less available for use by the body. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition confirms that obesity is linked with vitamin D deficiency. It’s also been shown that bariatric surgery can lead to vitamin D and calcium deficiencies.

You have a family history of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a condition where you lose too much bone or don’t make enough to replace the bone that you normally lose. Vitamin D and calcium work together to build and maintain healthy bones.

You’re pregnant. Expecting mothers with low blood levels of vitamin D during pregnancy are at higher risk for potentially fatal high blood pressure (preeclampsia), early delivery and low birth weight babies. Mothers deficient in D are also more likely to require a C-section delivery and are at greater risk for infections, says Dr Michael Holick, professor and director of the Vitamin D, Skin and Bone Research Laboratory at Boston University Medical Center. Vitamin D receptors in the uterine muscle may strengthen contractions during labour, as well as boosting immunity for mother and baby, he says.

You have dark skin. Those with a darker complexion have high melanin in the skin – the pigment that acts as a natural sunscreen, therefore you will absorb less vitamin D naturally.

Why take VITAMIN D LIPO-SACHETS?

Incorporating a daily vitamin D supplement into your diet will ensure you’re getting adequate levels of this wonder vitamin to achieve its amazing benefits. Vitamin D Lipo-Sachets are convenient, one-a-day sachets that come in a delicious melon flavour and pleasant gel-like consistency that you can consume as is or add to cold water or juice.

This simple addition to your daily diet will promote calcium absorption, support healthy bone development, help support immune, nervous system and healthy muscle function, support healthy foetal development and enhance general health and wellbeing. You’ll wonder how you ever did without it!

This is a sponsored article produced in partnership with Vitamin D Lipo-Sachets.

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