Basking (safely) in the sun is not the only way to get your Vitamin D fix; eggs, mushrooms and oily fish also carry high concentrations. It’s now been proved that this vitamin increases energy levels and lowers blood pressure.
For the study, a group of volunteers cycled for 20 minutes. Once they were done, they were given either a course of placebos or Vitamin D supplements. After two weeks they were asked to cycle for another 20 minutes.
The results? Those given Vitamin D were able to “cycle longer with less effort” than those given the placebos, and they had lower levels of cortisol – the stress hormone – which can also cause high blood pressure.
So, what harm can be done by a lack of Vitamin D? Dr Emad Al-Dujaili of Queen Margaret University explains that “Vitamin D deficiency is a silent syndrome linked to insulin resistance, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and a higher risk for certain cancers.”
Foods that are rich in Vitamin D include cheese, eggs, oily fish, mushrooms and beef livers, and it’s often added to beverages like milk and orange juice.
Another expert who reiterates the dangers of Vitamin D defiency is nutritionist Dr Marilyn Glenville.
“Research shows Vitamin D can be anti-inflammatory and that, aside from osteoporosis, its levels affect cardio health, type 2 diabetes, breast cancer, joint pains, allergies, fertility and immune function,’ she says.
‘The trouble is, we have so taken on the skin cancer message (plus sunscreen is in women’s skin creams so we tend to be worse off than men) that we are even seeing the return of rickets.”