Updated: Mar 18
Vitamin D is well known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’ and is responsible for many important functions within the body. But, are we getting enough?
Under normal circumstances from about April to the end of September, most people should be able to get all the vitamin D they need from sunlight but now we are forced to spend most of our time indoors there is an increased risk of developing a vitamin D deficiency as we may not be getting enough sunlight to replenish our levels.
It is vital that we get enough of this important hormone as vitamin D has many important functions within the body and plays a vital role in:
Immunity which plays an important role supporting the immune system.
Hormonal health by balancing our sex hormones
Supporting a healthy digestive system
Bone health, as vitamin D regulates the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body, both needed for healthy bones, teeth and muscle
Improving brain development and function
Vitamin D is an essential vitamin for everyone and we get it from two main sources, sunlight and food such as oily fish, egg yolks and mushrooms
There are two types of vitamin D. Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) from plant sources, i.e. mushrooms, and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) from animal sources such as oily fish and egg yolks as well as the supplemental forms. Vitamin D3 is the more powerful of the two types as it is bioavailable and raises blood levels of vitamin D almost twice as much as D2.
A blood test can determine your current levels so you know what dosage you need to take. The blood levels of vitamin D are assessed by measuring 25(OH) D - 25-hydroxy vitamin D in the blood.
It can be a good idea to get tested to see what your levels are so that the correct dosage of supplemental vitamin D can then be given. I would suggest that if you are concerned you or your family are not getting enough to get tested. During Covid-19 this is not possible to get this via your GP but please let me know if you would like help getting a finger prick test and/or interpreting your test results.
There are many vitamin D supplements on the market but sprays/drops are more easily absorbed rather than tablets or capsules and also drops are easier for children to take.
Remember, get advice from health and wellness experts who are qualified and experienced like myself and be very careful of taking your advice from Dr Google.
It is possible to get too much vitamin D/overdose from supplements which can cause Hypercalcemia (abnormally high calcium level in your blood) and signs include nausea and vomiting. However, it is almost impossible to get too much vitamin D from sunlight or from foods alone. So, too much can be as harmful as too little, and if in doubt get your levels checked.