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Supplement could reduce your risk of heart disease

Dr Ellie on why people should be taking Vitamin D supplements

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Published in the Journal of Lipid and Atherosclerosis, the study has suggested that vitamin D may lower the risk of type 1 diabetes in children by up to 33 percent.

Furthermore, they said it could act as an anti-inflammatory. The study authors wrote: “Recent research suggest that vitamin D also plays an important role in vascular remodelling and healing of damaged endothelium by increasing the circulatory level and functionality of EPCs.”

What are EPCs?

EPCs are a type of cell derived from bone barrow. A number of studies have begun to show how they could help reduce the risk of heart disease.

As a result, the better these EPCs can function, theoretically the more efficacious heart function is likely to be.

What role does vitamin D play in the body?

As part of their investigation, the authors found that at least 60 genes are regulated by vitamin D, meaning it plays a key role in several bodily functions.

For example, it can also act as a hormone and stimulate the production of some types of stem cells.

Overall, the authors concluded: “Determining the mechanistic pathways of beneficial functions of vitamin D on EPCs will be critical for the translation of vitamin D as therapeutic agent in a subset of individuals with defective EPC functions or vitamin D deficiency.”

As a result, further studies are needed to establish just how big a role vitamin D plays in how the body functions and the full impact of supplementation.

But this doesn’t mean we know nothing about how it impacts the body.

Vitamin D is key for the body to function.

The NHS says: “Vitamin D helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body. These nutrients are needed to keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy.

“A lack of vitamin D can lead to bone deformities such as rickets in children, and bone pain caused by a condition called osteomalacia in adults.”

Apart from supplements, it is possible to find vitamin D in a wide range of foods, each of which are preferable sources to supplementation.

Foods where you can find vitamin D include:
• Oily fish
• Red meat
• Liver
• Egg yolks
• Fortified foods such as cereals.

Is it possible to have too much vitamin D?

Yes, it is. Adults shouldn’t have more than 100 micrograms a day. Consistently overdosing on vitamin D can lead to issues with parts of the body its consumption is meant to help avoid.

Taking too many vitamin D supplements can cause a condition known as hypercalcaemia, a build up of too much calcium.

Should this happen, it can cause the bones to weaken and damage the kidneys and heart.

However, if your GP recommends a certain dosage of vitamin D, the NHS say “you should follow their advice”.

How much a person will need will vary between age groups and other health related factors specific to that person.

While it is possible to overdose through supplementation, it is impossible to overdose through exposure to sunlight.

Overexposure to sunlight can lead to its own range of health issues such as skin cancer, heat stroke, skin damage, and dehydration.

During the winter, however, these conditions (excluding skin cancer) are less likely to occur due to seasonal and climate related changes.

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