Vitamin D had a huge amount of attention during the pandemic, due to its alleged covid-fighting properties. Hype aside, Vitamin D really is fantastic if you’re looking to optimise your immune system. Our Vitamin D guide gives you all the facts you need to get the most benefit from your supplement.
What does Vitamin D do?
Technically Vitamin D is a hormone and not a vitamin. We make Vitamin D from cholesterol when we expose our skin to the UV light from the sun. Numerous studies continue to discover the benefits of having a good level of Vitamin D in our bodies. It plays a role not just in Calcium Metabolism and Bone Health, but in our Immunity, Cancer Prevention and Brain Health.
Should I take Vitamin D?
Vitamin D deficiency is associated with Rickets, Osteomalacia (softening of the bones) and in severe cases, increased Morbidity. Because there’s not enough ultraviolet radiation in the winter to support our bodies in the production of Vitamin D, most people who live north of the equator would benefit from taking supplements between October and March.
You might also be low in this Vitamin if you:
- Always use sunscreen
- Spend very little time outside
- Take statins
- Have darker skin pigmentation
- Have limited physical activity
- Have low fish and dairy consumption
- Your BMI is high
- Catch every cold going
- Have low mood
- Sleep badly
- Suffer from diarrhoea
- Suffer from nervousness
- Experience muscle twitching
How much Vitamin D will help my body?
There is debate over the optimal level: it will depend on the reason you are taking it in the first place. Doses can be given in IU (international units) or mcg. 25mcg is equivalent to 1000IU.
Supplements range in amounts from 400IU/day to a safe upper limit of 4,000IU/day. Some studies suggest that the amount taken should be tripled with obesity. And in the case of chronic disease, a short term dose of 10,000IU/day might be most effective.
But do proceed with caution. You should get tested before you start to supplement: hypercalcemia (too much calcium in the blood) and renal failure has been found to come from taking 50,000IU/day.
How should I take Vitamin D?
Most multivitamins contain around 10mcg (400IU), which is often not enough to meet the body’s requirements. You can take an additional supplement as a tablet or spray, whichever works best for you. Vitamin D is fat soluble so you should take it with food for the optimal absorption.
Which food can I find Vitamin D in?
Your body really needs ultraviolet radiation to make Vitamin D. However, there are small amounts in some foods. These include:
- A tablespoon of cod liver oil
- Mushrooms that have been grown outdoors and so exposed to UV light
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any condition. If you have a medical condition, are pregnant, or take any form of medication, consult a trained professional or doctor before taking supplements.