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Sunday, 19 September 2010

Official leaflets for people of Scotland advising them to make sure they get enough Vitamin D - Well done, Ryan McLaughlin!

Schoolboy, Ryan McLaughlin, tirelessly campaigned on this issue and petitioned the Scottish Parliament to produce new guidelines on vitamin D supplements for children and pregnant women. His efforts have been successful. See BBC News report.

Because Scotland gets less sunshine than the more southerly regions of Britain, it is inevitably more difficult to get sufficient Vitamin D, the 'sunshine vitamin.' Inadequate levels of this vitamin result in many health problems, including more fragile bones, excess weight, muscle weakness and many more. (Click on the Vitamin D label just beneath this post if you would like more information about Vitamin D.) Possibly the most important of Vitamin D's contributions to health is protection from infections. - If you have enough Vitamin D you are far less likely to catch colds and flu, etc.

If getting out into the sun is a problem for you and you decide to take supplements of the sunshine vitamin, the best version is Vitamin D3. Vitamin D is also essential to metabolise calcium. Read about dairy calcium, fat retention and vitamin D on my webpage here.


  1. To be frank, anywhere in the UK in winter will be too far North to give sufficient sunlight, even on bright day to achieve efficent generation of Vitamin D3 in the skin. Anywhere in fact, above 30degrees latitude has this problem in winter.
    Of course, we also have the barmy notion that sun exposure of any sort is dangerous, when in fact most cases of skin cancer relate to areas of the body that recieve little or no exposure even in summer. But of course it is the same problem we have with all diktats from the Healthcare, a hypothesis with sparse evidence is sold as the absolute scientific truth, then the pharmaceutical industry feeds into it and produces sun screens of ever increasing strength to 'protect' us from our alleged stupidity. We then arrive at the state where even in summer, we recieve so little UVB that Vitamin D is compromised and our inate immune system is robbed of its major fuel source.
    In winter I urge all to supplement with Cholicalciferol (Vit D3) of at least 2000iu per day, to counteract the latitudinal effect. Our ancestors did this with dietry sources derived from meat, offal and bone broths, most of which today we shun. Of course taking statins also compromises our ability to generate cholesterol, which in turn lowers the levels in the skin and thence depletes Vit D3 because we have no means to synthesise it without cholesterol. Unintended consequences that collude to make us all unhealthy or what?

  2. A good rule of thumb regarding when the sun is providing UVB/vitamin D, is that your shadow has to be shorter than your height. The sun has to be at an angle of over 45 degrees.
    So in the UK this only happens for at best a couple of hours in midsummer. Between September and April the sun is too low, even at midday, to provide vitamin D beneficial UVB rays.
    Supplement all year round with D3. I keep my levels at 80 ng/ml with 5000iu per day. I get tested twice a year.