Why are white people white?
It’s because of vitamin D. Unlike other vitamins, it comes from sunshine, and scientists are only just waking up to how essential it is to our health. So essential is it that my European ancestors evolved to be paler after they had left Africa, simply so that they could take more of it in (source.)
A hidden epidemic.
Many of us who live in countries with dark winters are deficient in vitamin D. It is spoken of as a ‘hidden epidemic.’ How much sunshine do you get? Even the most outdoorsy of Brits is not getting enough vitamin D between October and March. It’s simply not possible, as the sun at our latitude is not strong enough. If you work nights, have dark skin or are elderly, then you are especially at risk.
Why we recommend vitamin D
Low levels of vitamin D have been associated with chronic musculoskeletal pain, bone pain and tenderness, and risk of osteoporosis. For these reasons alone it makes sense for chiropractic patients to take vitamin D supplements. However, vitamin D doesn’t only protect our bones. An astonishingly wide range of health issues have been shown to correlate with a deficiency, from depression to cardiovascular disease to sleep apnea (click here to read a full list.) Medics at Copenhagen University Hospital measured participants’ vitamin D levels in 1976, and tracked them for mortality. In 2014 the results were published. Those people with low levels of vitamin D were found to have an increased mortality rate of 30 percent and a 40 percent higher risk of cancer-related deaths.
Getting enough vitamin D
Oily fish is rich in vitamin D but it is sunshine, not food, which provides most of your vitamin D. Supplements have mixed reviews. There is great debate about the efficacy of some brands, and about dosage. In the summer of 2016 the NHS succumbed to pressure to step up its advice regarding supplements. NHS guidelines now say that "all adults and children over the age of one should consider taking a daily supplement containing 10mcg of vitamin D, particularly during autumn and winter." However, many health practitioners that these recommendations don't go far enough, and that very high doses of vitamin D are required in order to meet our bodies needs and avoid ill health. For example this study found that older women need very high doses of Vitamin D to maintain bone health.
Too much of a good thing?
As with any vitamin, there are side effects from taking too much, and you can read about them here. If you are concerned about taking too much vitamin D, you can get your levels checked with this home testing kit to find out exactly how much you need to take. If you have any pre-existing health conditions you can check here to make sure it is not contraindicated. If you are taking any medication that affects your blood sugar levels or blood pressure levels you should check with your GP before taking vitamin D.
The brand we sell
We have sourced a high potency vitamin D from a reputable manufacturer, which is available for sale in our reception. The supplements we sell are 2,000 IU (equivalent to 50 mcg.) According to the European Food Safety Authority, this is the safe maximum dose for daily use. (The Institute of Medicine gives an even higher safe upper level, of 4,000 IU.) By buying in bulk, we make savings which we pass on to you. That is why at the time of writing our vitamin D costs £10 for 365 tablets, available to patients and the general public.