Even though we have been blessed with some gorgeous weather of late, autumn is here and now, more than ever in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important for us to keep our levels of Vitamin D topped up.
Recent studies have also indicated that Vitamin D may help both lessen the risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 and of dying from the virus.
In a study by Dr Michael Holick, it was found that sufficient vitamin D can reduce the risk of catching the coronavirus by 54% and the vitamin can also help against other viruses affecting the upper respiratory tract.
And patients older than 40, those who had sufficient levels of vitamin D were more than 51% less likely to die than patients who were deficient.
Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin but, spending time outdoors is clearly not enough as it is estimated that 1 billion people worldwide, across all ethnicities and age groups, have a vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin D plays many roles in the body, one of the most important being to enable the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, both of which are involved in a number of essential processes that occur inside our cells.
Vitamin D also promotes the laying down of minerals in bone (bone mineralisation) and supports the function of nerves and muscles.
It is particularly important for infants and young children because it is needed for the development of strong and healthy bones and teeth and it is also important for the functioning of the immune system.
You may have an extra risk of a Vitamin D deficiency if you are in one of these groups:
- those with darker skins who cannot synthesise vitamin D efficiently from the UK’s relatively weak northern sunlight
- people who cover their skin whilst outdoors
- those with minimal exposure to sunlight.
That certainly describes me – and, I suspect, most of us whose employment keeps them indoors for the majority of the day.
Whilst Caitlin and Ieuan do play outdoors during school playtimes, at home like many other children they spend a large amount of time indoors in front of screens. Yes, we do our best to drag them out whenever we can but, like many parents, it is often a herculean struggle!
Did you know that, according to national surveys, one in five people have low vitamin D levels which are associated with a higher risk of poor musculoskeletal health such as rickets, osteomalacia, falls and poor muscle strength?
Even more concerning, a report published in December 2018 by the University of Queensland, reported that newborns with vitamin D deficiency had a 44 per cent increased risk of being diagnosed with schizophrenia later in life compared to those with normal vitamin D levels.
In fact, Public Health England currently advises that in the UK all children under five take a daily vitamin D supplement year-round and all adults throughout the autumn and winter months.
We’ve been trying the Oilesen Vitamin D3 range from Swiss pharmaceutical company Valentis, containing high-grade natural ingredients including Extra Virgin Olive Oil. The products are vegetarian, family-friendly and purse-friendly.
Why D3 you may wonder? Vitamin D2 and D3 are the two most important forms for your health but whereas Vitamin D2 is produced by plants, Vitamin D3 is the one made by your skin when you get enough sunlight. Studies show that Vitamin D3 is far more important for our health than Vitamin D2.
Oilesen products are designed to provide supplementary vitamin D3 and there’s a format to suit each member of the family: pregnant women, babies from birth through to older children, adolescents and adults, as well as individuals who may be housebound or who avoid sun exposure.
The range includes Oilesen Vitamin D3 500 Spray; Oilesen Vitamin D3 400 Drops; and Oilesen Vitamin D3 1000 Soft Gel Capsules.
OILESEN™ Vitamin D3 500 Spray – 30 ml (320 doses)
Really easy to use, you simply spray directly under the tongue or on the inside of the cheek for fast absorption. It has a pleasant orange flavour too. Children aged 4 to 10 years should be given 2 doses per day whilst children over 10 years and adults need 2 to 4 doses per day. Each dose contains 12.5 ug of vitamin D3. This was Caitlin’s preferred way to take it as she could do it herself and feel very grown-up (under supervision, obviously!).
OILESEN™ Vitamin D3 1000, soft capsules made with Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Children over 5 years and adults simply take 1 capsule per day during a meal. If there are issues with swallowing, the capsule can be chewed or the contents squeezed into a meal, a drink or directly into the mouth. 1 capsule contains 25 μg of vitamin D3. Luckily Ieuan has never had a problem swallowing tablets and has lots of practice with his travel sickness pills.
The range also includes Oilesen™ Vitamin D3 400 Drops 10 ml. With a base of extra virgin olive oil which aids absorption, this product is intended to provide supplementary vitamin D3 for babies.
The dropper enables Mums and Dads to easily add a daily dose directly into the baby’s mouth or mix into food or drink. Babies can be given 1 drop per day to be taken with a meal from birth. 1 drop contains 10 μg of vitamin D3.