Just had to allow myself a little smile of satisfaction when scientists agreed that Lisa and I were correct in making our decision to move to sunny Spain from cloudy, rainy Britain.
Well, of course, that is not what the actual report said – as no boffin is really going to analyse our decision-making abilities – but what it did say was the main reason behind our forthcoming move to a warmer climate.
The news was revealed in The Guardian, a UK national newspaper, in a report headlined Britain not sunny enough for healthy vitamin D levels, say experts.
According to scientists who jointly advise the UK government, people in Britain suffer from a vitamin D deficiency because of a lack of bright sunshine. They say that British weather prevents much of the population from receiving healthy amounts of the essential vitamin from sunlight, and that natural food sources alone are not enough to boost levels.
Their answer to the problem does not urge following us in a mass emigration but does suggest that people generally should increase their vitamin D intake with supplements.
The advice is contained in draft recommendations from the scientific advisory committee on nutrition (SACN). Although I, for one, had never heard of this worthy group before, apparently it is an independent advisory body to the government and their view could lead to new guidance being issued on the subject.
Even more interesting for me is that the committee made its recommendation after studying the links between vitamin D levels and multiple sclerosis along with a range of other health problems including musculoskeletal health, heart disease, type 1 diabetes and cancer.
Living with MS, I have known for some time of the link between the illness and vitamin D deficiency and had been advised to take daily supplements by my MS Specialist Nurse. The potential health benefit to me of more sunshine, so more vitamin D, was a key factor in our decision to move.
Speaking to another newspaper, the Independent on Sunday, vitamin D specialist Dr Adrian Martineau said the new advice marked a “sea change” in thinking.
He said “Before this, the general assumption was that adults were able to make all the vitamin D they needed from sunshine, and didn’t need to have any dietary or supplementary intake. The action of sunlight on the skin in the UK is highly variable for different populations depending on the time of year and the latitude – you’ll get more UVB in Brighton (south of England) than in John o’Groats (north of Scotland) – and finally, how much skin is exposed and the colour of skin.
“SACN was right to say that we can’t rely on sunshine in the UK to meet the vitamin D requirements. That’s a major and important change. It’s a big step forward that this is now officially recognised.”
Need I say more?