Winter definitely seems to have arrived! The days are getting shorter, nights longer and temperatures have dropped over the country – I had to remove ice from my windscreen this morning! I hope you are all managing to keep wrapped up and warm!!
Winter solstice is less than a week away on June 22nd and marks the shortest day. It’s a relief to know that the days will start getting longer, it will be a fair few months before we can announce spring and daylight savings!
This reminds me of a query that often comes up in the pharmacy over the winter months – vitamin D – to supplement or not to supplement? It is a popular topic in the media, especially over the winter months. Actually, a customer came to me yesterday to ask about this very thing!
“Chris-“ she said, “I heard on the radio this morning that many people are deficient in vitamin D – should I be worried?”
I replied: “I think about 5% of adults in NZ are deficient but almost 30% have below recommended levels of vitamin D.”
“Anyone potentially could be deficient, but those with dark skin, with liver or kidney disease or living in the South Island, may be more at risk”.
“I heard that vitamin D can help with anxiety, is this true?” she asked.
“Vitamin D is well known to prevent fractures by helping to strengthen our bones. Much research is being undertaken around vitamin D and nearly all major diseases,”
“Some research has suggested a relationship between vitamin D deficiency and vulnerability to depression and anxiety but there are no concrete recommendations yet. There is also research being conducted to investigate whether low levels are associated with increased colds or cases of the flu”
“So, do you recommend a supplement?”
“The best thing about vitamin D is that you can get it free! Sun exposure during the winter months such as a half hour walk or other activity during the middle of the day is recommended but you can still produce vitamin D if your arms, legs and face are exposed to the sun for just a few minutes!”
“Eating foods with vitamin D such as oily fish, milk, eggs or liver can also help, although the amount in foods is much smaller than what you can make through sunlight”
Try this delicious dish which includes natural sources of vitamin D (I made this last night):
Baked teriyaki salmon
2Tbsp ea of soy sauce, mirin (Japanese cooking wine), rice wine vinegar
2 tsp ea of sesame oil, grated ginger
Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Line a baking tray with paper.
Place 2 fresh salmon fillets (deboned) in a bowl with marinade mix above.
Place fillets on the baking tray and pour over remaining marinade.
Bake for 8-10 minutes or until cooked to liking.
Serve with rice and Asian greens. Top with toasted sesame seeds.
“If you are concerned about your vitamin D levels, see your GP to have your levels tested. If your vitamin D levels are low, a supplement may be necessary.”
If you would like more information about vitamin D or supplementation, come in and see either myself or one of the team – we’re here to help!
To you and your health,