While autumn is a rich, transformative time of year, it is also a time when we need to pay extra attention to our health, our immune systems and think about how we can maintain the healthy effects of summer’s busy activities and the time we’ve spent outside. From early Autumn to the end of spring it’s common that we get smaller amounts of daylight than during the summer months and if you ask advice from most nutritionists in the nordic region one of the first things they are likely mention during this period is vitamin D.
Your body naturally creates vitamin D in response to exposure to sunlight, specifically to the UV rays in sunlight, but during the darker colder parts of the year the strength of the sun decreases and you may find that you are also spending less and less time outside. This means that your body is producing less and less vitamin D, so looking for additional dietary sources of vitamin D becomes increasingly important.
Vitamin D deficiency can have a significant impact on how our bodies function often most noticeably impacting our immune system. Less noticeably, at least in the short term, is the impact that vitamin D deficiency has on our bones, blood calcium levels and muscle function. Vitamin D also plays a role in cell division where old worn out cells are replaced with new ones this is important throughout the whole year as our bodies are in a permanent state of renewal and repair and if you are suffering from a specific health issue this can be especially important to you.
Vitamin D is so vital to our health that in Finland, known for its long dark winter days, formalised vitamin D fortification and supplementation is common practice. Finland’s strategy of vitamin D supplementation has had a positive impact on the population’s vitamin D levels and speaks well for the effect that supplementation with vitamin D can have.
Something I hadn’t realised is that your ability to synthesise vitamin D from exposure to UV light varies depending on your natural skin colour. Someone with very fair skin can synthesise vitamin D roughly 6 times faster than someone with very dark skin. You may need to spend between 20 minutes to two hours in the sun on a sunny day to synthesise the required amount of vitamin D. If you wear a strong UV blocking sunscreen and cover your skin when you are outside then it is likely that you are blocking out the UV rays that your body needs to synthesise adequate vitamin D. If that is you then you really should think carefully about maintaining your dietary intake of vitamin D and taking a vitamin D supplement such as true vita or Alpha.
The key ways we maintain our vitamin D levels are through sun exposure, through eating foods rich in vitamin D and through taking good quality dietary supplements. I am a big advocate of whole foods-first when it comes to staying healthy but vitamin D is naturally present in a very limited number of foods, these include oily fish such as sardines, mackerel, salmon and tuna and also in eggs and mushrooms. Some common processed foods such as cereal and milk are fortified with vitamin D, but if like me you eat mostly whole foods you may not be consuming these fortified foods. Which foods are fortified also differs from country to country, in the UK for example cows milk is not fortified with vitamin D.
Almost everyone can benefit from increasing their intake of vitamin D rich foods between September and May and taking a supplement with vitamin D can be a good way to ensure that your cells are getting enough of this important vitamin. When it comes to vitamin D supplementation, like with all supplements, it isn’t always quantity that’s important, you also need to consider the kind of vitamin D, the quality of the vitamin D and the cofactors that might be needed for your body to absorb and utilise the vitamin D supplement you take.
KIND There are two types of vitamin D available, vitamin D3 and vitamin D2 which is a vegan friendly alternative. More and more evidence is backing up the recommended use of vitamin D3 while studies on vitamin D2 have shown less of a beneficial effect. If you rely on vitamin D2, nutritionists are increasingly recommending that you increase your intake to get the same beneficial effect as from a D3 supplement.
QUALITY Always choose supplements from a brand that you trust and who source their raw ingredients from trusted suppliers. I can vouch for the care and attention that’s gone into this at Truenordic.
COFACTORS For vitamin D to have the maximum beneficial effect there are some other key nutrients (cofactors) that your body needs to have available these include magnesium, vitamin K, and zinc. true vita for men and true vita for women both contain significant quantities of vitamin D3, as well as these other nutrients which are required for your body to utilise vitamin D.
Make sure you get enough
To be at your happiest and healthiest all autumn long I really recommend increasing the vitamin D rich foods in your diet, and if you aren’t already, try taking true vita™ for men or true vita™ for women. They contain vitamin D as well as its cofactors which will support cell devision, healthy muscle function, healthy bones and your immune system! You will benefit from all the other nutrients it contains too.
Here you can visit the Truenordic shop, you can buy a one off pack of true vita or a true vitality pack which contains true vita and true omega, or set up a product subscription so you receive your monthly supply of essential vitamins and minerals automatically every month.
Wishing you a beautiful autumn and some brisk autumn walks in the sun!
Brand & Communications, Truenordic
- Vitamin D contributes to normal absorption/utilisation of calcium and phosphorus
- Vitamin D contributes to normal blood calcium levels
- Vitamin D contributes to the maintenance of normal bones
- Vitamin D contributes to the maintenance of normal muscle function
- Vitamin D contributes to the maintenance of normal teeth
- Vitamin D contributes to the normal function of the immune system
- Vitamin D has a role in the process of cell division
- Vitamin D helps to reduce the risk of falling associated with postural instability and muscle weakness. Falling is a risk factor for bone fractures among men and women 60 years of age and older.
- Vitamin D contributes to the normal function of the immune system in children.
- Vitamin D is needed for normal growth and development of bone in children.
Harriet is head of brand and communications at Truenordic AB and joined the team in June 2017. Originally from the UK she is now based in Helsingborg, Sweden.