Everything you need to know about Vitamin D
There are many different vitamins out there, each with important jobs to help keep the body working properly. From fighting infections to supporting the immune system, providing energy and more, they’re essential for our overall health and wellbeing. In this article, we’re going to be looking into vitamin D specifically — what it is, why the body needs it, and where to find it. Spoiler: the sun plays a huge role.
What is vitamin D?
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps regulate the amount of calcium in the body. It contributes to the maintenance of normal bones, muscle function and immune function. Our bodies can produce vitamin D by itself when the skin is exposed to direct sunlight, although we can also get it through certain foods and supplements.
There are two main forms of vitamin D: vitamin D2 and D3. The difference? Vitamin D2 is sourced from plants, whereas vitamin D3 comes primarily from animal foods.
What are the best vitamin D supplements?
There are lots of different vitamin D supplements out there, from powders to pills, tablets, capsules and gummies, all with different dosages.
If you’re looking to use vitamin D supplements, our top picks include:
Our Body&Fit Vitamin D3 is ideal and super easy to take.
Alternatively, you can Body&Fit Vegan Vitamin D3 if you’re living a plant-powered lifestyle.
Our Body&Fit Omega 3 + Vitamin D is the perfect combination of vitamin D3 and essential fatty acids.
We also stock a number of different vitamin D supplements from other premium brands, such as Swanson’s Vitamin D Complex and Now Foods Vitamin D3 (1000 IU), which is sold in a pack of 360 soft gels for a yearly supply. If you have trouble swallowing pills, these UltraVit Vitamin D3 Gummies are chewable tablets that come in delicious strawberry, peach and mango flavours. They’re also lactose and gluten free.
Note: we recommend choosing vitamin D3 supplements as it can be better absorbed by the body.
What are the benefits of vitamin D?
Vitamin D has a number of important functions in the body:
- It contributes to the normal functioning of the immune system.
- It helps ensure that calcium can be properly absorbed from food.
- It is important for maintaining strong teeth.
- It contributes to normal levels of calcium in the blood.
- It contributes to the production of cells and tissues in the body.
- It contributes to the maintenance of normal muscle function.
Where do you find vitamin D?
The main source of vitamin D is sunlight. When our skin is exposed to the sun, the body produces vitamin D. This is why it’s often recommended to spend at least 15 to 30 minutes outside every day during spring, summer and fall. The sun’s UV rays are strongest between 11:00 and 15:00, so if you’re stuck in the office a lot, try to soak them in with a walk outside during lunch.
As you can imagine, the Great British winter is not always sunny enough to get a good amount of vitamin D. Fortunately, the body is able to store a supply of vitamin D in fatty tissue and organs (such as the liver) to use during those dark, cold days.
Foods that are high in vitamin D
You can find vitamin D mainly in fatty fish (such as salmon, herring and mackerel) but also in lower levels in meat and eggs. It’s also added to low-fat margarines, margarine and other cooking products.
Do fruits contain vitamin D?
Although there are plenty of vitamins in fruit, you won’t find vitamin D in oranges, bananas, tangerines or most others. You will however find other important macro and micronutrients in fruits, such as vitamin C, fibre, potassium, iron and folate. So, eating two pieces of fruit a day throughout the year is still a good rule of thumb.
How much vitamin D do you need?
The recommended daily amount of vitamin D for adults up to the age of 70 is 10 micrograms. You can get this amount simply by spending those 15-30 minutes outside each day, although if you’re indoors most of the time, it’s advised to take a vitamin D supplement to avoid a vitamin D deficiency.
What are the symptoms of vitamin D deficiency?
Over the long term, too little vitamin D can cause bone problems. In adults and the elderly, a vitamin D deficiency can eventually cause osteoporosis and/or muscle weakness. In young children, a vitamin D deficiency can lead to rickets, a condition that affects the development of bones and can lead to skeletal abnormalities.
When do you need extra vitamin D?
There are a number of population groups susceptible to a vitamin D deficiency. For these people, vitamin D supplementation recommendations are higher than 10 micrograms (400 IU) per day. An example is elderly people over the age of 70. Around this age, the skin has more difficulty absorbing vitamin D, so 20 micrograms (800 IU) per day is advised for these groups. In addition, young children, people with dark skin colours and pregnant women should also take extra vitamin D to avoid a vitamin D deficiency.
What are the side effects of too much vitamin D?
It’s rare to experience any symptoms from getting too much vitamin D, even if you’re on vacation in a warm country and exposed to sunlight for a long time. This is because the skin regulates vitamin D production, which ensures the body doesn’t get too much. Of course, it’s important to cover yourself properly when you go out in the sun for a longer period to prevent skin damage from UV rays.
When it comes to vitamin D supplements, the acceptable upper limit for adults is 100 micrograms per day, although it’s always best to stick to the recommended daily amount on the packaging.
What are the best ways of getting enough vitamin D?
To sum up, here are our top three tips to make sure you get enough vitamin D and avoid any symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency:
Try to spend at least 15 minutes a day outside during spring, summer and autumn (between 11am and 3pm).
You can find vitamin D in fatty fish (such as salmon and mackerel), and in lower amounts in meat, cheese and eggs. It’s also often added to low-fat margarine, margarine and cooking products.
If you struggle to get the recommended daily amount of vitamin D from sunlight and food, then a vitamin D supplement may help.
When do I need a vitamin D supplement?
You may benefit from a vitamin D supplement if:
You don’t you get outside every day.
You don’t eat fatty fish, meat and eggs often (or at all).
You have a dark complexion.
You’re over the age of 70.
For further information about vitamin D, feel free to message us @bodyandfit_official, where our Nutrition Experts are always on hand to answer your questions and help you #FINDYOURFIT.