Vitamin DIt’s been known for decades that Vitamin D is an essential element for good health since it promotes strong bones and can help to reduce the risk of bowel disease, heart failure and osteoporosis. However, recent research has proven that it’s also an essential vitamin for preventing infections and cancer.

Vitamin D Offers an Initial Barrier Against Infection

According to research, vitamin D works to boost the immune system’s first line of the defense against infection, thus resisting flu, pneumonia, chronic bronchitis and other acute respiratory injections (ARIs). This is particularly helpful for elderly patients who are more at risk of these conditions and more vulnerable to them when they strike.

It can be incredibly difficult to treat many ARIs because they’re usually viral and cannot be treated with antibiotics. By using vitamin D supplements as a preventative measure, it may be possible to reduce the occurrence of life-threatening ARIs as people age.

Vitamin D Could Also Protect Against Some Cancers

Recent research has found that vitamin D could also be a powerful prevention against breast and prostate cancers. It was found that women with higher levels of vitamin D are more likely to survive a breast cancer diagnosis. Not only that, but there’s also a link between low vitamin D levels and prostate cancer diagnoses, with vitamin D deficiency showing up on patients’ blood tests before the prostate cancer occurred. It is believed that by maintaining healthy levels of vitamin D, both men and women could cut their risk of these cancers.

Are You Getting Enough Vitamin D?

There a few telltale symptoms of vitamin D deficiency, such as muscle weakness, extreme fatigue, frequent bone fractures and bone pain, but many of us will not experience any symptoms at all despite having lower than healthy levels of the vitamin. The best way to find out if your vitamin D levels are in good order is to visit your doctor and have blood tests. You could incorporate this into your annual health checks, or simply arrange an appointment with us to have just your vitamin D levels checked.

If you are deficient in the vitamin or levels are lower than your doctor would prefer, you can adapt your diet (eat more sardines, grass-fed butter and cheese, organic eggs, beef liver and wild Alaskan salmon), increase exposure to the sun (within reason – excessive exposure can lead to melanoma) and take supplements. Your doctor will recommend a suitable supplement dosage, but often 1000-4000 IU is the optimum daily intake.