Time To Start Taking A Vitamin D Supplement

| October 18, 2016

Now that those of us living in the Northern Hemisphere have waved goodbye to the summer sunshine for another year, it is a good time to think about our vitamin D intake. This “sunshine vitamin” is made in our skin in the presence of strong sunlight, which means that for the six months from October to March we can’t make any. And even in summer, the UK’s notoriously cloudy skies make the production of the sunshine vitamin a bit hit-and-miss.

I have said repeatedly that everybody needs to take a vitamin D supplement – and in particular, people with diabetes. As I mentioned here, having a low level of vitamin D is an even bigger risk factor for type 2 diabetes than being overweight or obese. And if you already have type 2 diabetes, taking a vitamin D supplement can help to lower blood sugar and insulin levels, reduce insulin resistance and protect against heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

Finally, the message seems to be getting through. After telling us for years that we could get all the vitamin D we need from safe sun exposure and a “healthy, balanced diet”, the government advisory body Public Health England announced in July this year that everybody should take a supplement of the vitamin in winter. They couldn’t really have come to any other conclusion after an EU-wide survey, published earlier this year, revealed widespread vitamin D deficiency, as I reported here.

The advice from Public Health England is that everybody should take 10 micrograms of vitamin D a day, which is equivalent to 400 IU. This is usually enough to prevent rickets in children and the bone disease osteomalacia in adults. But if you want the full benefits that vitamin D can bring – which include boosting your immune system, preventing winter colds and flu, and protecting against neurodegenerative diseases, chronic fatigue and depression – then I recommend a dose of 50 micrograms or 2000 IU a day.

It seems that a lack of sunshine isn’t the only factor driving the epidemic of vitamin D deficiency. Research shows that exposure to common chemical pollutants, such as bisphenol A, can reduce levels of vitamin D in the blood stream. I shall tell you more about these worrying findings in my next blog post.

Wishing you the best of health,

Martin Hum
PhD DHD Nutritionist
for Real Diabetes Truth

Bear in mind we are not addressing anyone’s personal situation and you should rely on this for informational purposes only. Please consult with your own physician before acting on any recommendations contained herein.


  1. Public Health England. PHE publishes new advice on vitamin D. Press Release, 21 July 2016. gov.uk/government/news/phe-publishes-new-advice-on-vitamin-d.
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