If I mention this word, my weekend’s ruined

The Good Life Letter 

15th June 2018

  • Why this weather could be good for your diabetes risk
  • Research reveals interesting new link between the sun and the disease
  • Something you might not realise about Vitamin D
I was going to start this letter by mentioning the ‘S-word’.

No, not THAT S-word.

This S-word is not rude and not related to something you find in the toilet….

It’s just a word beginning with ‘S’ that I avoid using in these emails whenever I have outdoor plans for the weekend.

You see, on Saturday I have a barbeque organised in my garden for some old University mates (Lara is DELIGHTED…) and usually if I mention the word ‘sunshine’ in this newsletter, it RAINS.


I’ve gone and said it now. That’s torn it. There will be a freak downpour on Saturday now, you just watch.

Murphy’s Law, it’s called.

Either that or I’m a wizard or some kind of Viking weather god, like Thor.

Never mind, it’s not as if we’ve not had decent sun this year so far. Even one of my friends up in the highlands of Scotland has been basking in the sunshine.

And this is a good thing…

Of course, I’ve talked about the importance of Vitamin D; low vitamin levels linked to poor musculoskeletal health, weak bones and muscles.

But here’s something new that you might not realise…well, I didn’t anyway.

Research reveals interesting new link between Vitamin D and diabetes

A new study the University of California and Seoul National University College of Medicine released this April suggests that if you are deficient in vitamin D, you’re at a bigger risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Researchers identified a ‘minimum healthy’ level of vitamin D in blood plasma to be 30 nanograms per millilitre.
Sue K. Park, MD, said: "We found that participants with blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D that were above 30 ng/ml had one-third of the risk of diabetes and those with levels above 50 ng/ml had one-fifth of the risk of developing diabetes.”

In other words, higher levels of vitamin D were linked to a greatly reduced chance of getting the disease.

One of the study’s authors, Cedric F. Garland, has already made links between vitamin D levels and breast, lung and bladder cancer.

Unsurprisingly, he is now a huge advocate of the benefits of vitamin D.

He believes that to get the levels of the vitamin needed to reduce diabetes and cancer risks, you’d need dietary supplements of 3,000-5,000 international units (IU) every day.

Compare that to the officially recommended 400 IU per day.

Quite a difference!

The scientists just can’t agree on this one. In fact, in 2016 the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) put a MAXIMUM intake of vitamin D through supplements as 4000 IU per day for adolescents and adults over 11 years old.

That’s 1000 IU less than Garland’s recommended 5,000 IU.

Now, I can’t possibly challenge an expert who has dedicated much of his adult life to studying vitamin D – and I’m not going to tell you to ignore the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition.

Basically, it’s unlikely you’re getting anywhere like the 4,000 IU anyway.

And science arguments aside…

You should get some sun on your skin, that’s for sure

Garland points out that you don’t need those super-high levels of vitamin D through supplements if you get decent exposure to the sun each day, which is around quarter of an hour in minimal clothing (shorts and t-shirt for instance).

Of course, in California where he works, a daily fix of sunshine is never a problem.

For we Brits, it’s never a guarantee. This spring and summer up until now has been fantastic, so we should soak up the rays while we can.

Make hay while the sun shines, as they say.

Over the past decade the pattern seems to be that the sun lasts until July, when we get two months of solid rain before a sunny September arrives just as the kids are going back to school.

However, getting out into the light, no matter how sunny, is a good idea. If it’s not a hugely sunny day, you’ll still get some benefit from a long walk in a t-shirt.

Never mind the benefits of taking a long walk!

Sun is always the best source when it comes to vitamin D. Which is why we should be making the most of the weather!

I don’t mean go silly and sunbathe. Just get out, feel the rays, then sit in the shade and have a lovely drink of something cool.

However, I understand that you might need a top up with supplements, even in the summer.

So there’s something else you might like to know about Vitamin D

Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium. Which is great… when it goes into your bones.

It’s not so great when it starts to accumulate in your arteries, joints and organs.

A 2013 study proved this, when it showed that vitamin D increased coronary artery calcification and the thickness of the arteries in your neck that deliver blood to your brain.

However, by taking vitamin K with vitamin D, you slow that calcification process.

So along with the sunshine, get more vitamin K by trying a supplement, or by eating leafy green vegetables like kale and Swiss chard.

For a serious K-boost, try Japanese ‘natto’, which is made from fermented soy beans.

It’s absolutely packed with the stuff. However, it is a little… pungent… like old socks and sour yoghurt with a sprinkling of parmesan.


Anyway, I’ll leave that with you.

Oh, and if diabetes is something that concerns you, I am currently reading an absolutely brilliant book on the subject which is really opening my eyes.

As soon as I’ve completed it, I’ll give you my full verdict, so look out for that.

Also look out for a freak downpour of rain in the west of  England on Saturday sometime in the mid-afternoon!

Yours, as always




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