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The forgotten vitamin

Recent research is throwing new light on the role and importance of Vitamin D.

Once thought merely to play a role in preventing rickets,  its importance in many other ways is coming to light. Perhaps the main one is in its effects on the immune system, particularly in the condition, Multiple Sclerosis.

A young son of a mother suffering from Multiple Sclerosis, started searching the web for clues to throw light on the crippling disease. He went on to discover a link between M S and Vitamin D and pursued this relentlessly, bringing his findings to the attention of medical specialists, who finally acknowledged the findings.

One of the main findings in diseases of the immune system is a consistently low level of Vitamin D in the blood. It should be between 100-150nmol/l (nanomoles per litre), though some researchers say it should ideally be 200nmol/l.  

There is an increase in rickets amongst children, thought to be due to interacting with technology indoors rather than playing outside. Many sports are also played indoors.

The body produces Vitamin D mainly from the effects of sunlight on certain substances in our bodies and we should ensure we have 10-15 minutes unprotected exposure to the sun a day. The recommended daily dose is 10-20mcg supplied through diet and supplements. Raw Atlantic herring is a rich source of VitaminD contained also in eggs, mushrooms and fortified cereals.

Access further information from April's Reader's Digest article 'Sunshine Superstar'.