Margaret Papoutsis - Osteopath and Nutriotional Therapist   Margaret Papoutsis - Osteopath and Nutriotional Therapist

Osteopath & Nutritional Therapist

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New Vitamin D Alert – Essential and Welcome, but a Test is Best!

The recent advice from the Government-backed commission on Vitamin D has been widely publicised, and rightly so. It is well documented that most people living in northern Europe are likely to be deficient, particularly in the winter. Vitamin D is designed to be produced in adequate amounts in the skin, on exposure to sunlight; but in these days of skin cancer awareness, very few of us are likely to sunbathe without UV protection. It is also difficult to obtain sufficient from the diet, even if you eat plenty of oily fish, egg yolks, liver and dairy products.

What are the recommendations?

New Vitamin D Alert – Essential and Welcome, but a Test is Best!
The new Government guidelines suggest a minimum supplementary intake of 10 mcg (400iu), particularly in winter, and a minimum blood level of 50 nmols/ltr. This level is generally considered to be rather on the low side, and most nutritional experts prefer to see levels of around 80-90, and even higher in some specific health problems.

Vitamin D Testing

However, the requirements of each individual can be widely different, as the needs of the body vary with genetics, lifestyle and health issues. Personally I always advise my patients to have a Vitamin D test before taking high dose supplements. Ideally take a test at the end of winter, then again at the end of the autumn. All that summer sunshine will definitely improve Vitamin D levels, but most of that will have been used up within 6-8 weeks.
Although GPs should be able to order a test, in practice this is not often suggested. However an NHS pathology lab in Birmingham is offering very accurate Vitamin D tests for under £30, using only a few drops of blood and a home kit. You can order online or by telephone.

Following this protocol, you can discover if your supplementation/sun exposure is sufficient for your own particular needs. In view of the fact that Vitamin D helps to protect from several types of cancer, heart disease, joint degeneration, osteoporosis and a very long list of other health problems, it is definitely something we should all be considering.

However, dosage is all important – too little Vitamin D will mean that you miss many of the potential benefits, but too much is not so good either. Toxicity is very rare, but quite possible, and there is no way to find out exactly how much is too much unless you take a test.

Margaret's experience

New Vitamin D Alert – Essential and Welcome, but a Test is Best!
Personally, I have been taking Vitamin D supplementation for many years, as there is a history of osteoporosis on both sides of my family. When testing became available I was appalled to find that my Vitamin D level was only 23nmols/ltr - I was lucky not to have rickets! Such low levels would have greatly reduced my resistance to a large number of very unpleasant disorders. It appears that there is a genetic need for me to keep my intake very high, as my requirements are exceptional…and I would never have known without a test.

What type of Vitamin D should we buy?

New Vitamin D Alert – Essential and Welcome, but a Test is Best!
It is vital that you ensure that your extra Vitamin D is of adequate purity, and the correct biological form. Vitamin D3 is the active form you need – Vitamin D2 needs further conversion in the body, and this is not always efficient.

When searching for Vitamin D3 (or indeed any other supplements) I can recommend looking at CYTOPLAN. They are an independent manufacturer specialising in practitioner-quality supplements. They are wholly-owned by a health promotion charity, so their products are of unimpeachable quality, and represent remarkable value for money (there are no shareholders to please!).

They produce Vitamin D3 in 2 strengths; both of them produced naturally from wholefoods rather than synthetically engineered, thus ensuring maximum absorption and bio-availability. The lower dose is suitable for children, and adults who get plenty of regular sun exposure. The high potency alternative is ideal for most healthy adults.

Click here for Cytoplan Lower Dose Vitamin D
Click here for Cytoplan High Potency Vitamin D

During August CYTOPLAN are running a buy-2-get-1-free offer on all their products, so this is a wonderful opportunity to stock up on Vitamin D and any other of their brilliant supplements. As it is a practitioner-based company, please insert my number (PM0037) in the designated space on the checkout page. This needs to be done only on your first visit to the website.

Testing recommendations

That said, I would still highly recommend that everyone take a Vitamin D test in late autumn, and then again in late winter after a few months of appropriate supplementation. Results under 50nmols/ltr should be taken seriously and addressed as soon as possible.

Should you wish for advice on the interpretation of your test results, and suggestions for appropriate levels of supplementation, then I am happy to offer this over the internet for a fee of £15. Please contact Jenny for details.

Wishing you all a healthy, sunny, Vitamin D-producing summer!

Margaret Papoutsis
Registered Osteopath and Registered Nutritional Therapist

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