In a city where sun-kissed beaches and radiant skies are an essential component of everyday life, it’s surprising to discover that a significant number of Tel Aviv’s residents and visitors are still grappling with a hidden health concern – Vitamin D deficiency. Join us as we uncover the paradox of a sun-soaked city battling a ‘sunshine’ nutrient deficit, and explore the vital steps to maintain your health under the Tel Aviv sun.
The Sunshine Vitamin:
Vitamin D is a steroid hormone which earned its name as the “sunshine vitamin” due to our bodies synthesising it when our skin is exposed to sunlight. When UVB rays from the sun hit your skin, it triggers the conversion of a cholesterol compound into Vitamin D. This natural process is the primary source of Vitamin D for most people.
Vitamin D and Your Health:
Strong Bones: One of the most well-known roles of Vitamin D is in calcium absorption. It helps your body absorb calcium, which is essential for building and maintaining strong bones. This is especially crucial for maintaining bone health as you age.
Immune System Support: Vitamin D also plays a significant role in supporting your immune system. It helps the body fight off infections, reduces the risk of respiratory illnesses, and can contribute to a decreased susceptibility to certain diseases.
Heart Health: Some research suggests that adequate Vitamin D levels may be associated with a lower risk of heart disease and high blood pressure. It may help regulate blood pressure and reduce inflammation.
Mood and Mental Health: There’s emerging evidence that Vitamin D may play a role in mental health. Some studies suggest a connection between low Vitamin D levels and conditions like depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
Autoimmune disease – vitamin D is a part of the puzzle which reduces the incidence of autoimmune diseases.
At our clinic, during the COVID-19 pandemic, we strongly advised a significant dose of daily vitamin D as well as vitamin K2 and zinc to attempt to mitigate the virus’s effect on the body. While, at the time we did not know if it would help, there was a lot of suggestive evidence that it may and plenty of evidence of no harm. Out of thousands of patients who were seen at our clinic over those 2 years and beyond, none were hospitalised with the exception of one elderly patient who was released the next day. Since then, a lot of good quality research has shown that indeed, good levels of vitamin D prior, during and after infection with COVID 19, dramatically reduces the risks of severe illness and sequelae.
Getting Enough Vitamin D
Sun Exposure: In Tel Aviv’s sunny climate, you have a great advantage when it comes to getting Vitamin D from the sun. Spending just 10-15 minutes in the sun without sunscreen several times a week can provide a substantial boost to your Vitamin D levels.
Diet: Incorporating Vitamin D-rich foods into your diet can help maintain your levels. Fatty fish, fortified dairy products, and egg yolks are excellent sources.
Supplements: In some cases, supplements may be necessary to maintain adequate Vitamin D levels. It’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any supplementation. A blood test is available for this purpose.
Enjoy the abundant sunshine in Tel Aviv, maintain a balanced diet, and consult with our healthcare professionals to ensure you’re getting the right amount of Vitamin D for a healthier and happier life. Your health is our priority, and we’re here to support you in every way we can.
The family doctors at our clinic are experienced in treating both adults and children as young as 18 months. Please reach out to see if we can assist with any of your medical needs whether you are a citizen or traveling in Israel.