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Help banish the winter blues with vitamin D

WINTER BLUES: Increasing our intake of vitamin D can help boost our mood over winter

THE DOOM and gloom of winter means we’re in a season where our vitamin D levels are at an all-time low. Unfortunately for us, a trip to the Caribbean may not be on the cards, which means due to the lack of sun, 20 per cent of us are severely lacking vitamin D. Without it, our bodies cannot absorb calcium, magnesium and phosphate, which are essential for maintaining strong bones and teeth – particularly the D3 variety – which is more effective.

What is it?

Vitamin D can be broken down further into vitamins D2 and D3, which are all part of the same family. D3 is the more popular of the two, and the most effective and essential form of the vitamin.

It is always great when we can get the nutrients through what we eat, and there are many dietary options of vitamin D3, including oily fish such as mackerel and salmon, fish oil, eggs, especially the yolks, liver and butter. The body, when exposed to sunlight also produces its own D3.

With the lack of sun during the winter months, it is important we get enough D3 from our food sources. However, for vegans, D2 is an option as it is plant-based.

Commonly sourced from mushrooms that have been grown under UV light, and cheaper to produce, it makes it the most common form of vitamin D to be found in foods such as bread and cereal as well as in many supplements.

While D2 has many benefits, D3 has proven to be almost twice as effective at raising vitamin D levels in the blood. Benefits include:
• Normal function of the immune system
• Maintenance of normal muscle function
• Maintenance of normal bones, as well as normal utilisation of calcium phosphorous
• A role in the process of cell division

There are also benefits of vitamin K2 and D3 when taken together. Vitamin K is essential for normal blood clotting and healthy bones. Vitamin K is produced in your intestine by normal intestinal bacteria.

Foods such as green vegetables, spinach, cabbage, broccoli and oil also contain vitamin K. The recommended dosage is 80 mcg. Vitamin K2 and D3 are a dynamic duo when taken together.

Vitamin K helps vitamin D to be absorbed and directed to your bones, also stopping too much of it ending up in the wrong places, such as the arteries, joints and organs.

Supplements


Better You, £9.95, betteryou.com

The spray bottle allows the vitamin D and K to be absorbed directly into the bloodstream, through the inner cheek, without reaching the digestive system, where many nutrients can be lost.

Vitamin D and vitamin K2 work synergistically with each other to ensure that calcium is directed out of the arteries and into the bones, which helps to improve bone density.

The K2 stops calcification within the arteries occurring and increasing the risk of heart disease.


Nutri Advanced, £13.15, nutriadvanced. co.uk

These liquid vitamin D3 and K2 drops are made from lichen, making them suitable for vegans, and provide 400IU per drop, which is the recommended amount during the winter months.

D3 is the preferred form of vitamin D, as it’s the same form made by the skin in response to sunlight. The liquid formula makes for quick and easy usage and means you can be flexible with dosage. It is also suitable for all ages, including infants and young children.


Cytoplan, £23.90, cytoplan.co.uk

This product contains 4,000IU, which is the maximum recommended daily dosage.

Made from lichen, this is another vegan-friendly option. As well as the vitamin D3 it contains 100ug vitamin K2. Vitamin K2 is synergistic with vitamin D, so will ensure you get an adequate amount for optimum biological activity of both vitamins.

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