Be Sure To Keep A Check On Your Vitamin D Intake For Optimal Health
Vitamin D is an essential fat-soluble vitamin which we obtain primarily from sunlight.
Unfortunately, the UK has one of the highest levels of vitamin D deficiency in Europe; it is estimated to affect a quarter of the UK population. And, in the UK’s winter months, when sunlight is weaker and the daylight hours are shorter, the vitamin D deficiency levels rise to one third.
So how can we ensure our vitamin D levels stay within the healthy bracket?
Why Should We Maintain Our Vitamin D Levels?
Vitamin D is important for a number of reasons.
Firstly, vitamin D helps maintain the health of our bones, teeth, and muscle function. It does this by contributing to the normal absorption and utilisation of calcium and phosphorus. In fact, without enough vitamin D our bodies struggle to absorb enough bone supporting calcium.
There are also immune support benefits provided by vitamin D. Scientific evidence has shown that this vitamin plays an important role for the normal function of our immune system.
How Can We Get More Vitamin D?
We get most of our vitamin D from sunlight; primarily vitamin D3, the body’s preferred type of vitamin D. D3 is the specific form made in the human body and therefore more effective than vitamin D2.
You can also get vitamin D from food, however, the UK, an average diet provides 3-4 µg of vitamin D per day and only a little more if oily fish is consumed.
Examples of foods that provide vitamin D3 include eggs, oily fish such as sardines, salmon and mackerel, and liver. Foods that contain vitamin D2 include mushrooms, and fortified foods such as orange juice, bread, cereals, and plant milks.
In the UK, the Department of Health and Social advises that we consider taking a vitamin D supplement between September to March due to low sunlight levels.
How Much Vitamin D Do We Need?
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, to 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.
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 and/or 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.
With babies, the Department of Health and Social Care recommends that breastfed babies from birth up to one year old, should be given a daily vitamin D supplement containing 8.5 to 10µg.
Babies who are given formula instead of being breastfed should only be given a supplement when they are consuming less than 500ml of formula a day. This is because infant formula is already fortified with vitamin D.
Children up to four should be given a daily supplement containing 10µg of vitamin D.
Vitabiotics Wellbaby Vitamin D Drops provides 10µg of vitamin D, as recommended by the UK Department of Health and Social Care and are suitable from birth to four years.
For older children, Wellkid Peppa Pig Vitamin D soft jellies provide 10µg of vitamin D for children 3-5 years and for children aged 7-14 years, Vitabiotics Wellkid Marvel Vitamin D provides 12.5µg of vitamin D.
All Wellkid vitamin D products are in the preferred form of D3, the same form as produced in natural sunlight.
What Should I Look For In A vitamin D Supplement?
A supplement containing at least 10µg of vitamin D is recommended by the UK’s Department of Health and Social Care.
As well as this, look for a supplement that provides vitamin D3, the body’s preferred form of vitamin D.
Vitabiotics Ultra Vitamin D 400IU, contains 10μg of vitamin D, the exact daily recommended supplement level.
Ultra Vitamin D 1000IU, provides 25μg of vitamin D3, the optimum strength in one daily tablet. Alternatively try Ultra Vitamin D 1000iu Gummies, delicious orange flavoured vegan chewable gummies, perfect for those who don’t like taking tablets.
For a higher level of vitamin D, opt for Vitabiotics Ultra Vitamin D 3000IU. One tablet a day provides 75µg of vitamin D3.
The NHS advise that we do not take more than 100μg (4000IU) of vitamin D each day, with children aged one to 10 having no more than 50μg a day, and babies under 12 months being given no more than 25μg a day.
How Do I Test My Vitamin D Levels?
If you want to receive precise information on your vitamin D levels, a blood test is an option. Make an appointment with your GP who can discuss this with you.
For more information on vitamin D check out our Ultimate Guide On Vitamin D.