How Vitamin D Can Help You
You will have no doubt heard of the wonders vitamin D can do for your health - but you might not be aware just how beneficial getting out into the sunshine could be.
It's been said to help aid, if not cure, a range of chronic conditions. We've got 5 reasons you should be getting outside into the sun:
Vitamin D can help heal sunburn
We get vitamin D from the sun—and the same vitamin can help repair skin damage when we get sunburn. Taking supplements after sunbathing helps reduce redness, swelling and inflammation, researchers have discovered.
But you have to take very high doses before you'll see any positive effects. Researchers have been testing the healing powers of the vitamin at levels of between 50,000 and 200,000 IUs—and the recommended daily allowance is just 400 IUs.
People given the highest doses were seeing skin inflammation reduce dramatically after just 48 hours, and they also had less skin redness, say researchers at the Case Western Reserve University.
The vitamin triggers activity in the genes that helps repair skin damage, and those with the highest blood levels of the vitamin seemed to have the greatest protection as well as the fastest healing.
This suggests that people who have gradually increased their exposure to the sun could have the greatest natural protection against burning.
"Vitamin D helps promote protective barriers in the skin by rapidly reducing inflammation. What we did not expect was that at a certain dose, vitamin D not only was capable of suppressing inflammation, it was also activating skin repair," said researcher Kurt Lu.
The researchers tested various levels of vitamin D on a group of 20 volunteers, who had been put under a UV lamp until their arm was red. After an hour, they were given varying doses of the vitamin, ranging from 50,000 to 200,000 IUs, and were checked every day for three days to see if the skin was healing.
The research team is next going to test high-dose vitamin therapy on burn patients.
(Source: Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 2017; doi: 10.1016/j.jid.2017.04.040)
It halves the risk of severe asthma attack
Vitamin D—the 'sunshine vitamin'—could halve the risk of a severe asthma attack. Taking supplements, or getting out into the sunshine during the summer months, could become an important part of asthma treatment, say researchers.
The vitamin reduces the risk of a severe attack requiring hospital treatment from six per cent to three, say researchers from the Cochrane research group. They don't know if it benefits only sufferers who are already deficient in the vitamin.
They analysed seven trials that included 435 children and two others that included 658 adults, all of whom had mild to moderate asthma. None of the people taking a supplement suffered any adverse reactions.
(Source: Cochrane Library, doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD011511.pub2)
It could ease IBS symptoms
Most IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) sufferers are low in vitamin D, and those with the lowest levels also suffer the worst symptoms that can make it impossible to lead a normal life.
Taking high-dose vitamin D3 supplements or getting more sun during the summer months can dramatically improve symptoms, say researchers at the University of Sheffield.
They tested 51 IBS patients and found that 42 of them were deficient in the vitamin, and those with the lowest levels also complained that the problem affected their daily life the most significantly.
IBS is a chronic disorder of the gut that affects up to 15 per cent of the population in the West, and accounts for 10 per cent of all visits to a doctor's surgery.
Low levels of the vitamin have also been associated with other problems of the gastro-intestinal (GI) tract, including inflammatory bowel disease, and also raised blood pressure (hypertension), and heart and kidney disease.
(Source: BMJ Open Gastroenterology, 2015; e000052)
It could cure Crohn's
Crohn's disease, a chronic inflammatory problem of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, affects more people in the gloomier northern regions-and now researchers think that vitamin D, the 'sunshine vitamin', could treat it.
Vitamin D supplements seem to strengthen the gut wall, so reducing the incidence of leaky gut, one of the characteristics of the disease.
Researchers from St James's Hospital in Dublin gave 27 Crohn's disease patients either vitamin D supplements, delivering 2000 IUs a day, or a placebo for three months. At the end of the trial, those who had taken the supplements had less intestinal permeability, and also were showing signs of reduced inflammation. They also reported experiencing a better quality of life while taking the supplements.
(Source: United European Gastroenterology Journal, 2015; 3(3): 294)
It'll help to avoid tooth decay
The 'safe sun' policy has made most of us deficient in vitamin D, which has increased our risk of developing diabetes. But it has also affected the health of our teeth, a new study has found.
Teeth decay is much more likely in people who are deficient in vitamin D, which we mainly get from exposure to bright sunlight. Those who have good levels of the vitamin are 50 per cent less likely to suffer dental caries, or decay, say researchers from the University of Washington.
It's known that vitamin D plays an important role in bone health, but dental associations have consistently denied for 60 years that it had any part to play in the health of the teeth. However, the university's review of 24 clinical trials involving 3,000 children from various countries demonstrated conclusively that the vitamin helps protect our teeth.
Vitamin D deficiency is a common problem in northern countries, and it's made worse by 'safe sun' policies that urge people to stay out of the midday sun. Earlier reports by WDDTY have demonstrated that a vitamin D deficiency has played a major part in the epidemic of type 2 diabetes.
(Source: Nutrition Reviews, 2012; doi: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.2012.00544.x)