Vitamin D — the sunshine vitamin
What are we to make of the latest interest in humble vitamin D?
The health pages of the press are now incomplete without a piece on this miraculous nutrient, previously linked only with rickets, or bent bone syndrome. Something for the very poor only, maybe, or immigrants from hot, sunny countries?
Vitamin D3 (the natural version) is said to be a must-have pill to pop for a variety of conditions, not just bone-specific, but with 2,776 functions in the human body.
New research has shown a remarkable correlation between the incidence of heart disease in a country and the burning of coal in power stations. Since Britain switched from coal to other fuels during the Miner’s strike in the 1980s, heart disease has diminished amazingly.
Doctors claim the success for themselves, of course, with new drugs, such as statins. But it really should be attributed to the miners who shot themselves in the foot by shutting down the UK coal industry.
The operating factor is that burning coal in power stations puts so much sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere that it filters out ultra-violet (UV) radiation in the 295nm band. That is precisely what stimulates the skin to produce Vitamin D, which is closely associated with diminshed levels of heart disease.
A massive project that ran almost every possible cause of heart problems through the Legal & General computer showed no link with obesity, butter fat (indeed, butter gave an inverse correlation), and no apparent benefit from vegetables. There may be other links to diabetes, though.
The shining star of this programme was Vitamin D. So could the advice change to “put away the sunscreen and take to the beaches”? We shall see.
However, other tests show that good quality vitamin D supplements are very effective in boosting levels in the blood.
Healthspan recommends a supplement dose of 25 micrograms (ug) of natural D3 a day for optimum health.