Written by Nutritional Therapist Uta Boellinger
As the sun shines brightly and the temperatures soar during the summer, it's easy to overlook the importance of maintaining a robust immune system. However, thinking about immunity during this season is just as crucial as any other time of the year.
In addition, while the summer sun provides an opportunity to soak up some much-needed vitamin D, many individuals in the UK still don’t get enough. In this article, we’ll explore why it’s vital to prioritise immunity during the summer, shed light on the persistent vitamin D deficiency in the UK, and discuss why vitamin D3+K2 supplementation remains crucial even in sunny months.
Why is it important to still think about immunity during the summer?
Summer is often associated with relaxation, outdoor activities, and carefree vibes. However, the warm weather doesn't make us invincible to illnesses. While some viruses may be less prevalent during this time, it's still crucial to prioritise immunity. Seasonal allergies, food-borne illnesses, and other common infections can still pose a threat. Furthermore, travel and exposure to unfamiliar environments can introduce new pathogens. By maintaining a strong immune system, we can reduce the risk of falling ill and enjoy the summer to its fullest.
Vitamin D deficiency in the UK
Despite being a sunny season, vitamin D deficiency remains a persistent problem in the UK. This deficiency is largely attributed to insufficient sunlight exposure and the limited availability of dietary sources. According to recent statistics, approximately 1 in 5 adults and 1 in 6 children in the UK have low vitamin D levels, with even higher rates among specific populations such as older adults and people with darker skin tones. The consequences of vitamin D deficiency are far-reaching, including weakened bones, increased susceptibility to infections and low mood.
Why is vitamin D3 still important during summer?
While summer provides an opportunity for natural vitamin D synthesis through sun exposure, several factors can hinder its optimal production.
- Excessive use of sunscreen can reduce the amount of UVB radiation absorbed by our skin. With the fear of skin cancer at an all-time high many people lather up with factor 50+ which may just block UVB completely.
- Limited time spent outdoors and layers of clothing. In order to produce enough vitamin D 25% of your body must be exposed to the sun for at least 10 minutes a day and ideally around noon. This may not seem like a lot but the reality is many of us may not spend any time in the sun at all during the week as we’re busy sitting in offices and schools. Even if we’re outside each day we may still have our arms and legs covered which would prevent enough exposure to produce vitamin D.
- Living in urban areas with tall buildings. As sunlight is the key, city-dwellers who go for a lunchtime walk may find themselves in more shade than expected and simply might not be getting enough sunlight on their skin.
- Cloudy weather. Of course, living in the UK means that even during the hottest months of the year we simply don’t get sunlight on a daily basis.
- Additionally, older adults and people with darker skin require more sun exposure to produce adequate levels of vitamin D.
Supplementing with vitamin D3+K2 during the summer can help bridge the gap between the body's requirements and its ability to synthesise vitamin D naturally. Vitamin D3, the active form of vitamin D, supports immune function, bone health, mental health and overall well-being. When combined with vitamin K2, it aids in calcium metabolism, ensuring proper distribution between bones and soft tissues, thus preventing arterial calcification and promoting cardiovascular health. By including vitamin D3+K2 in our summer nutrition regimen, we can optimise our health and fortify our immune defences.
Beam & Balance is a specialised formulation of vitamin D3+K2 in a convenient mint-flavoured spray. It provides the essential combination of these 2 key nutrients needed for optimal bone health, cardiovascular support, and immune function and is so easy to travel with as it comes in a small bottle which can easily fit in your handbag. It’s also less than 100ml so can go in hand luggage on planes.
Alternatively one of my favourite products is Rise & Shine. Rise & Shine pouches contain a blend of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D3 to support energy, immunity, and overall wellness. As they don’t take up a lot of space (they even fit through your letter box) they’re also perfect for travel and they’re 100% plastic free and home-compostable.
To summarise: while summer brings a sense of ease and relaxation, it’s crucial to prioritise our immune health and nutrition during this season. Vitamin D deficiency remains prevalent in the UK, even with ample sunshine. By supplementing with vitamin D3+K2 we can support our overall well-being, strengthen our immune system, and make the most of the summer months while staying healthy and vibrant. Remember, a little extra care goes a long way in maintaining optimal health throughout the year.
Uta Boellinger is a registered nutritional therapist who specialises in helping busy women balance their hormones, feel reenergised and optimise their health.