December 1, 2020
Dr Traj Nibber, CEO and Director of Research at AOR has a wealth of experience and knowledge in the field of nutritional science and supplementation. We have asked him for his expert opinion on a number of nutrients, to feature in our blog. We hope you enjoy these insights and overviews of some key nutrients.
Vitamin D is one of the most talked about vitamins, and for good reason. Not only is it important for the development and maintenance of healthy bones, but also for supporting out immune system and supporting our mood.
Vitamin D is the only vitamin that the human body can produce entirely on its own. Sun exposure (UVB) to the skin produced vitamin D, which undergoes a number of hydroxylation steps in the liver and kidney to produce the active form 1,25-dihydroxy vitamin D. Unfortunately, apart from those who live in equilateral regions, most people do not synthesize sufficient amounts of vitamin D. Studies have shown that approximately 50% of Canadian adults and children do not get adequate levels of sun exposure, particularly during the winter months.
Vitamin D deficiencies have been associated with blood pressure imbalances, increased auto-immune disorders, chronic pain, premenstrual syndrome, poor immunity, blood sugar imbalances, mood changes and even an increased risk of mortality by all causes. Studies have also shown that vitamin D has important immunological and antibacterial effects and may be important for preventing infection and even the common cold.
Vitamin D is essential for the effective absorption of calcium which we get from our diets. Calcium is an integral part of bone formation. As such, vitamin D is essential for proper growth and development and deficiency can result in rickets. In adults, vitamin D is important for the prevention of osteoporosis and fractures. Studies have shown that 800 IU of vitamin D is linked to a 26% reduction of hip fractures and a 23% reduction in non-vertebtral fractures.
Low levels of vitamin D have been found in up to a quarter of people who suffer from chronic pain. In one study, patients with inadequate levels of vitamin D required nearly twice the dose of morphine than was used by patients with normal levels of vitamin D. Further, these patients were required to be on pain relief for a longer duration of time.
Vitamin D is also important in the function of muscles. Research has shown that young girls (12-14 years old) with higher vitamin D levels demonstrate greater muscle power than those with lower levels. Muscle weakness, pain and changes in gait have been described in vitamin D insufficiency. This may be the reason that the elderly have more falls and consequently increased fracture rates.
Overall, Vitamin D is a multipurpose vitamin. Because we do not get adequate sun exposure, it is important to ensure we are getting the required levels through supplementation.
AOR has a number of vitamin D3 formulations including capsules and liquid specifically designed for children and adults. Although often derived from fish sources, Vitamin D can also be derived from sheep’s wool and a vegan source from lichen. As we head into winter and know the chances of us being able to get much sunlight exposure decrease, it is a good time to think about taking a vitamin D supplement.
The NHS recommend that adults and children take a vitamin D supplement, especially if there are dietary restrictions or a lack of sunlight.Back to Blog