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Vitamin D is a hormone-like substance that is produced in the skin during exposure to sunlight. It has many important functions in the body, including strengthening bones, promoting a healthy immune system and protecting against a wide range of diseases. Vitamin D helps to regulate cellular replication in a very important way. Specifically vitamin D helps cells to differentiate (become specialised), and inhibits cells from proliferating, or growing in an out of control way. It is thought that these are the reasons why vitamin D deficiency increases the risk of various types of cancer, including breast cancer, as well as cancer of the colon and prostate. An Australian study conducted in 2001, detected mild or moderate vitamin D deficiency in more than one in three women during summer, and one in two women during winter. This is quite shocking, as we live in the sunburnt country! Those most at risk of vitamin D deficiency include people with dark skin, women who practise veiling, people taking certain medications (such as anti-epileptic drugs), and people who spend most of their time indoors. Sunscreen inhibits the manufacture of vitamin D in the skin. It’s healthy to get some regular exposure to the sun’s rays on uncovered skin. However prolonged sun exposure can be hazardous and inconvenient, and vitamin D is found in very few foods therefore supplementing with vitamin D may be the best option. Your body’s level of vitamin D can be accurately tested with a simple blood test.
West Lindfield Pharmacy and compoundingchemist.com can make any strength Vitamin D required by Physicians for patients.