It’s the body’s preferred type of vitamin D, but why is vitamin D3 so beneficial?
Vitamin D is aptly named the ‘sunshine vitamin’ thanks to the fact that it’s produced in the skin in response to sunlight.
This fat-soluble vitamin comes in two forms: vitamin D2 and vitamin D3.
We need both forms of vitamin D but vitamin D3 is the specific type that our bodies use and absorb. In fact, it is vitamin D3 that is made when our skin is exposed to sunlight, and it is far more effective than vitamin D2.
So why do we need Vitamin D and how can we get more; specifically, D3, and what exactly is it good for?
Why Do We Need Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is essential for ensuring the maintenance of normal muscles, bones and teeth.
We also need vitamin D so our body can absorb enough calcium to support bone health.
Vitamin D also contributes to the normal functioning of the immune system.
What Is Vitamin D3?
Vitamin D3 is the preferred form of vitamin D as it is actually made in the human body when we’re exposed to sunlight.
Vitamin D3 comes from animal sources whereas the other form of vitamin D - vitamin D2 - comes from plants and fungi such as mushrooms.
How Can I Get More Vitamin D3?
The main source of vitamin D, and specifically vitamin D3, is via sunlight on our skin. The NHS advise that most people can get enough vitamin D from being outside in the sun without sunscreen every day for short periods with arms, hands or lower legs exposed. However, this is only feasible from early April to the end of September, when the sun is stronger.
In the winter months, between October and March, the UK Department of Health and Social Care advises everyone to take a supplement containing 10μg of vitamin D everyday due to the UK’s lower levels of sunlight. During these months, sunlight does not contain enough UVB radiation for our skin to be able to make adequate amounts of vitamin D.
There are also some foods that provide vitamin D3, including oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, liver, eggs, and mushrooms that have been out in the sun.
In the UK, an average diet provides 3-4µg of vitamin D per day and only a little more if oily fish is consumed.
This is where sunlight and supplementation can help to increase Vitamin D intake.
How Much Vitamin D3 Do I Need To Supplement?
In the UK, the Department of Health and Social Care recommend that anyone aged four and over as well as pregnant and lactating women should consider taking 10 micrograms (μg) of vitamin D a day during the autumn and winter.
Adults over 60 could benefit from a daily vitamin D intake of 20µg. This is to help reduce the risk of falling associated with postural instability and muscle weakness. In men and women over 60, falling is a risk factor for bone fractures. Vitamin D contributes to the maintenance of normal bones and supports normal muscle function.
The Department of Health and Social Care recommends that you take a daily supplement containing 10µg of vitamin D throughout the year if you are not often outdoors – for example, if you're frail or housebound, are in an institution like a care home, usually wear clothes that cover up most of your skin when outdoors. Or if you have dark skin – for example you have an African, African-Caribbean or south Asian background – you may also not get enough vitamin D from sunlight.
It is recommended children up to four years old should be given a daily supplement containing 10µg of vitamin D. It is also advised that babies who are breastfed up to one year old should be given a supplement containing 8.5 to 10µg vitamin D. If a baby is given formula however, a supplement should only be given if they’re receiving less than 500ml of formula a day as formulas are already fortified with vitamin D.
Vitabiotics Wellbaby Vitamin D Drops provides 10µg of vitamin D3, the exact level of vitamin D for infants and young children , as recommended by the UK Department of Health, and are suitable from birth to four years.
How Can Vegetarians Get More Vitamin D3?
Vegetarians can obtain vitamin D3 from mushrooms that have been in the sun. Aside from that, Vitamin D3 comes primarily from animal food sources, so vegetarian vitamin D3 supplements can be a helpful nutritional support. The Vitabiotics Ultra Vitamin D range is vegetarian friendly. Ultra Vitamin D 1000IU, provides 25μg of British Pharmacopoeia quality vitamin D3.
For those following a vegan diet, plant based foods such as fungi provide vitamin D but in the D2 form which is not the body’s preferred type of vitamin D. Fortified foods, like cereals, bread, plant milks and orange juice are often fortified with vitamin D, but again, in the D2 form.
Vitabiotics Ultra Vitamin D 1000IU Gummies have been specially developed to be suitable for vegans while providing the prefered D3 form. The delicious orange flavoured vegan gummies are also perfect for those who don’t like swallowing tablets.
Getting More Vitamin D3 Through Supplements
The Vitabiotics Ultra Vitamin D range provides varying levels of vitamin D3, from 400IU to 4000IU. Vitabiotics Ultra Vitamin D 4000IU provides 100µg of vitamin D - Vitabiotics’ highest strength vitamin D supplement. This highest strength product is recommended for use under the guidance or supervision of your pharmacist or health professional.
For children aged 7-14 years, Vitabiotics Wellkid Marvel Vitamin D provides 12.5µg of vitamin D3.
The NHS advises that adults do not take more than 100μg of vitamin D each day, so be sure to follow supplement guidelines.
Read More: All About Vitamin D3 / The Main Sources Of Vitamin D / Our Best Vitamin D Supplements
For more information on vitamin D check out our Ultimate Guide On Vitamin D.
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