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Are New Zealander’s Vitamin D Deficient?

8585 Sunset
8585 Sunset

 Read more from David here

Because Vitamin D deficiency is becoming implicated in such a wide range of disease conditions, researchers worldwide are increasing the amount of work targeting Vitamin D.

New Zealand researchers have expertise in a number of physiological conditions and lifecycle stages where vitamin D deficiency is potentially damaging to health in both the short and long term. These include bone health, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and muscle strength, and during pregnancy, infancy and childhood, as well as older age.

Several of the recent trials have shown that a substantial number of the New Zealand population have blood levels of this vitamin that is well below the optimum level. The actual requirement of Vitamin D and the dose rate that is recommended has changed markedly in the last year or so with researchers and medical professionals worldwide suggesting that previously recommended rates were far too low and could be substantially lifted without any danger of toxicity or side effects. The former adult recommendation of some 1000 U.I. is seen as too low and many are recommending rates in the 2000 – 3000 I.U. range. Even up to 8,000 I.U for some special conditions

People with darker skin absorb less from sunlight and with the current publicity on skin cancer and melanoma’s causing many people cover up more and use sun block preparations regularly, this also reduces the Vitamin D obtained from sunlight and overall blood levels of the vitamin.

A recent 6 months study by Dr John Livesey and others of some 200 Christchurch adults showed they were almost all Vitamin D deficient during the period studied. His recommendation was that Christchurch adults should all be taking a dose of 2600 I.U. on a daily basis throughout the year. This study surprised The Wise Old Owl as it would be expected that over the summer sufficient sunlight would have been absorbed by the skin to produce adequate levels of Vitamin D, but that does not appear to be the case. Further studies by other researchers have come up with the same conclusion that a substantial proportion of the New Zealand population need Vitamin D supplementation. Blood testing of a broad sample of the population indicated that throughout New Zealand in the order of 50% of the population had below optimum levels of Vitamin D in their system.

This very solid evidence and shows that this situation poses a major health threat to many New Zealanders as can be seen by the list of conditions mentioned at the start of this article.

Vitamin D exists in 5 forms and it is Vitamin D3 (that is one manufactured in the body by sunlight) that is the important or critical one, so any supplementation either by diet or actual supplement should be in this form. This is the form used in NUZEACAL the bone health supplement produced by The Wise Old Owl. Avoid the other commonly used form Vitamin D2

To summarise unless you spend much of your time in an outdoor occupation you should be looking to supplement your Vitamin D intake.