The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) has published a new paper, “Vitamin D & Health”*. In it, the SACN recommends the reference nutritional intake for vitamin D be 10 µg/d (400 IU/d), throughout the year, for everyone in the general UK population aged over four; including those pregnant and lactating, and especially those at increased risk of vitamin D deficiency; the housebound, elderly, infirm.
Vitamin D is synthesised in our bodies when exposed to UVB radiation, but this can be influenced by several variable factors, such as time of day, season, latitude, altitude, cloud cover, air pollution, clothing and sunscreen use. In the UK, one of the most cloud covered countries in the industrialised world, sunlight-induced vitamin D synthesis is only effective between late March/early April and September, so all the more reason to supplement with vitamin D through the winter months.
Vitamin D is involved in so many processes in our body, but here are seven top reasons** to supplement your diet with vitamin D!
Vitamin D contributes to normal absorption/utilisation of calcium and phosphorus
Adequate vitamin D is required for efficient calcium absorption and for the maintenance of normal blood levels of calcium and phosphate that are needed for the normal mineralisation of bone.
Vitamin D contributes to normal blood calcium levels
Calcium in the blood contributes to normal blood clotting.
Vitamin D contributes to the maintenance of normal bones
Vitamin D is needed for normal growth and development of bone in children. For children one consequence of not having enough vitamin D is it can cause their bones to soften and can lead to rickets. There is also a well-established link between vitamin D deficiency and osteoporosis and this is most associated with the negative effect on calcium metabolism.
Vitamin D contributes to the maintenance of normal muscle function
This has relevance to all age groups and none more so than those at risk of osteoporosis. Vitamin D receptors are to be found in skeletal muscle cells and research suggests that people with unwarranted muscle aches, pains and weakness have a significant incidence of low serum vitamin D.
Vitamin D contributes to the maintenance of normal teeth
Vitamin D supplementation may help reduce the risk of developing tooth decay. Research shows that vitamin D may help reduce the risk of tooth decay in infants and younger children. Also, studies have shown that children with tooth decay have lower levels of vitamin D.
Vitamin D contributes to the normal function of the immune system
Vitamin D is essential to innate immune cell functions and the association between vitamin D depletion and weakened immune function has been researched.
Vitamin D has a role in the process of cell division
Healthy cell division is vital to the overall health of all of our body; skin, muscle, organ and bone.
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Many people send tokens of their well-wishes when someone is first diagnosed with an illness. As treatment goes on and on, it can get harder and harder to choose a gift that’s sensitive, meaningful and relevant. It’s lovely for those going through treatment to receive little treats to provide a little boost and act as a reminder that someone is thinking of you and rooting for you. Not Another Bunch of Flowers offer a new bespoke gift box subscription for regular gift deliveries. The service is completely bespoke but was introduced with the intention of sending a gift to coincide with every chemotherapy session (usually 6 gifts in total with a gift sent every 3 weeks.
How it works: The customer supplies Not Another Bunch of Flowers with a budget, frequency of gifts and total number of gifts. A list of suggested gifts is shortlisted. The suggestions can be amended to suit the recipient. Not Another Bunch of Flowers willI then get in touch with the customer before every treatment session to check that they are still happy with their selection of gift(s) and to see what message they would like to include. All gifts are lovingly wrapped, include a handwritten message and are pretty, pampering or practical plus safe for use during treatment and welcome in hospitals.
Although the gift box subscription was introduced for chemotherapy patients, as it is a completely bespoke service there is an option for everyone; gifts suited to men, women, new-mums, teens and more! It can be applied to any illness, treatment regime, pregnancy and birth. It has already proven really popular with families, groups of friends or work colleagues who club together to buy a selection of gifts to be spread out to coincide with the treatment sessions.
Editor’s Notes: Not Another Bunch of Flowers
Not Another Bunch of Flowers is an online web shop set up by Anikka Burton to help friends and family of poorly people make thoughtful gift choices for their loved ones.
Anikka was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011 aged 33, and has had the full works of chemotherapy, targeted therapy, radiotherapy, hormonal therapy and 5 operations to date. When first diagnosed, Anikka’s friends, family and colleagues sent so many bunches of flowers that she ran out of vases, jugs, pint glasses… until she was putting them in saucepans and anything else that would hold water! Not Another Bunch of Flowers was founded on the principle that whilst flowers are bright and beautiful amongst the gloom of illness, there are only so many a girl needs!
Buying an alternative present can be a difficult choice: some usual food and drink gift options may be off the cards; some ingredients in toiletries must also be avoided by some, such as parabens, sulphates and even some natural ingredients. Not Another Bunch of Flowers helps shoppers pick out the right practical (never boring!) gifts for those going through chemo, such as eye masks, button front pyjamas, beanies, and all sorts of bits and bobs you would never have thought of if you hadn’t been through it yourself.
Not Another Bunch of Flowers is generally known for supplying gifts for cancer patients – due to Anikka’s personal story and the resulting PR. However, Not Another Bunch of Flowers also sells general get well gifts, hospital gifts and gifts for mums-to-be and new mums.
The website offers a wide range of gifts such as jewellery, nightwear, quilts, puzzles, beauty products and sweets. You can also buy cards for every occasion: get well cards, empathy cards, cards for mums-to-be or birthday cards. And on top of that the website features a blog where you can find supportive and useful tips for specific situations.