An expert at a leading Irish health and nutrition company has said that the success of new public health advice that people should take vitamin D supplements during winter months could be limited because of other widespread nutritional deficiencies.
Cellnutrition’s Head of Science Roger Meacock said that the effectiveness of vitamin D supplements to support healthy bones, teeth, muscles will be restricted if people haveinsufficient levels of important minerals in their bodies.
Mr Meacock said that many people will need to improve their diets or consider also taking a mineral supplement to ensure the vitamin D is properly utilised in their bodies.
It comes after a major UK health watchdog, Public Health England, advised people of all ages to consider taking a Vitamin D supplement from October to March because they would not be exposed to enough sunlight during the winter months for their bodies to produce sufficient amounts of vitamin D. This shortage is hard to make up through diet because vitamin D is naturally present in very few foods
Mr Meacock explained: “Any guidelines which address the problem of vitamin D deficiency are welcome but there are other widespread nutritional deficiencies which could limit the effectiveness of this policy.
“This is because vitamin D works in conjunction with other nutrients in the human body. Magnesium, for example, is essential for the absorption and metabolism of vitamin D. It works with vitamin D to improve calcium absorption and keep your bones strong and healthy. But an estimated 80% of us are deficient in magnesium, so people are only going to get limited benefit from improving their vitamin D levels unless they also improve they magnesium intake.
“This can be difficult today because modern food contains far fewer nutrients than even 30 years ago as a result of intensive farming techniques stripping the soil of its nutritional value. Magnesium content in vegetables alone have dropped by a third.”
“So most people will need to increase their magnesium intake within a properly balanced multi-mineral supplement as well as vitamin D in order to ensure both are fully absorbed and utilised. This level of interaction and interdependency is true for all minerals and vitamins in our bodies and highlights the importance of ensuring you have the right balance of nutrients in your body.
“Balance is also the key when it comes to supplementation. Yes, we should heed the advice from Public Health England to make sure we get enough vitamin D but we must also ensure we have the right balance of all the other nutrients in our diet, particularly minerals and hard to get trace elements. For most people this will mean supplementing with more than just vitamin D.”