Why you should start taking Vitamin D now

Getting plenty of the ‘sunshine vitamin’ has never been so important!  In fact, a recent study highlighted the fact that 1 in 3 people globally is vitamin D deficient – and Europeans are more at risk than North Americans!  We manufacture Vitamin D in our skin from the suns rays yet most of us now spend our days indoors and slather on the suncream when out in the sun so we never really get chance to make it.

The surge of research in recent years has shown how Vitamin D plays crucial roles in

bone health; osteoporosis, rickets

heart health; high blood pressure, heart attacks, stroke

immunity 7 auto-immune conditions; colds, flu, chronic infections, Multiple Sclerosis

mood balance & brain function; depression, Seasonal Affective Disorder, Alzheimer’s Disease

regulating inflammation; arthritis, cardiovascular disease,

fertility and pregnancy

The old UK RDA levels of 400iu per day are currently being reviewed and new, much higher levels considered.   As Dr Janyne Althaus discusses, this is particularly important for pregnant Mums as the baby’s demand for vit D increases greatly in the later months of pregnancy when bone formation is taking place yet Mum is at risk of deficiency if her own Vitamin D stores are too low.

Now that we have passed the Autumn Equinox and the days are getting gradually shorter, the suns rays are no longer strong enough to give us the UVB rays needed for the manufacture of vitamin D in our skin.  Supplementing with it throughout winter is therefore a sensible and safe option – if you don’t like swallowing capsules or pills, try one of the new vitamin D sprays that are available and take at least 1000iu per day.




Stress as a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease?

One of the most feared signs of ageing has to be memory loss.  Forgetting the names, faces and memories of those you love and what you enjoy about your life.  In the UK alone there are 800,000 people living with dementia and because we have an ageing population, this number is set to rise rapidly over the next few years.

The term ‘Mild Cognitive Impairment’ covers the early signs of memory loss and dementia; 60% of people diagnosed with MCI will go on to develop Alzheimer’s Disease, the most common form of dementia.

Currently, there are many theories as to how and why Alzheimer’s develops.  One of these theories is the link between stress and dementia and scientists at the University of Southampton are carrying out a 3 year research project investigating the connections between stress and mental decline.

Two groups of participants will be followed, one group with MCI and the other without.  Stressful life events will be tracked, along with measurements of  immune function and stress hormones to see how the stress response affects the progression of MCI to dementia.

Stress, whether we cope well with it or not, is a major part of our lives and increases the effects of risk factors for many chronic diseases including hypertension, heart disease and cancer.  The results of this study will prove hugely interesting and may provide more clues as to how we can reduce the negative effects of stress and ageing on our minds.