Suppose this summer is a washout!

Nutritionist Simon Bandy from Seaford based supplements company Health Plus gives his advice on the importance of the ‘sunshine’ vitamin

It seems like winter is never going to end, as we enter spring with some record-breaking unpleasant weather.

Late snowfall and freezing conditions have left everyone longing for some spring sunshine, as well as the hope of a good summer and barbecue-worthy weather ahead.

This led me to think about the importance of Vitamin D – the ‘sunshine’ vitamin as it’s often called – and its importance for our health, whatever our age.

But what exactly does Vitamin D do for us and why is it so essential?

Vitamin D has so many functions for our current and long-term health.

It’s important to help absorb calcium for strong teeth and bones, it helps the immune system to fight off viruses such as the common cold, and a number of studies show that it can help to reduce the likelihood of cancer. Some studies have also suggested that Vitamin D may help to prevent some age-related conditions including rheumatoid arthritis, and helps to maintain healthy brain function as we get older.

A very recent study has suggested that low levels of Vitamin D may increase the risk of heart disease, and other signs of Vitamin D deficiency include severe asthma in children, and cognitive impairment in adults.

Many foods, such as breakfast cereals and dairy products, have added Vitamin D, but the quickest way to ensure an adequate intake is a short spell in the sunshine, of around 15 minutes each day.

This sounds great and easy to achieve (especially in the summer), but with the long range weather forecast showing unsettled weather for the early part of this summer at least, this feel-good health boost may not be available on a regular basis.

With the weather forecast known to constantly change in the UK, some of us still rely on countryside folklore to predict the long-range forecast. A customer of mine pointed out this week that the rooks are building their nests low – and high nests show that we have a good summer ahead.

So I’m not holding my breath for a summer of sun just yet, but whatever the weather, a good supply of Vitamin D is essential for our health at any time of year.

I’m often asked about this, and I always advise that a good quality supplement is one way of being absolutely certain that your Vitamin D levels are at their best to support your overall health, both now and in the future.

Simon Bandy is a nutritionist for natural supplements company Health Plus, which was established in Seaford over 20 years ago with a mission to promote optimum nutrition across the world. Family-owned and run since November 1991, the company supplies a wide range of British made, high quality nutritional supplements at www.healthplus.co.uk