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  • Writer's pictureRachel Fletcher

Do I need to supplement vitamin D all year round ?

Where can you get vitamin D from ?

Vitamin d is a fat soluble vitamin that can be found in foods such as:

  • Oily fish including salmon, sardines, mackerel, trout, pilchard and kippers

  • Red meat

  • Liver

  • Egg yolks

  • Fortified foods such as breakfast cereals, fat spreads, plant mylks and infant formulas

However, we don't really get much from food, we mostly obtain our requirements from the sun. Your body will make vitamin d under your skin when it is exposed to the sun's UV rays. Whilst I'm a firm advocate of a 'food first' approach, unfortunately when it comes to vitamin d, even a healthy, well balanced diet is unlikely to give you sufficent for your body's needs.

As (in the UK) we don't get much sun during the winter months, national guidelines recommend that adults and children over 4 years take a vitamin d supplement between October and March. This is because we simply can't get enough due to the lack of UV rays during this time. It is recommended that adults take at least 10 micrograms per day.

NB - a microgram is sometimes written with the Greek symbol μ followed by the letter g (μg). Also, sometimes on packaging, the amount of vitamin d is expressed as International Units (IU). 1 microgram of vitamin D is equal to 40 IU. So, for 10 micrograms, look for 400 IU on the label.

What are the benefits of vitamin D ?

Vitamin D is essential for healthy bones, teeth and muscles. A lack of which can cause rickets and osteomalacia (brittle or weak bones). Research also suggests vitamin d can support an effective immune function. Vitamin d helps with the absorption of calcium and phosphorous, which are also needed for healthy bones and teeth.

It's summer now, so do I need to take a supplement ?

Yes, (at the time of writing), the days are longer, the UV rays are stronger and (hopefully) we will be having some lovely sunny days. This means the need for supplementation is less in the summer. However, the British summer is notoriously rubbish and short !

Furthermore, some people can be at an increased risk of vitamin D deficiency, so should consider year round supplementation. For example, many of us spend all day indoors at work, or work shifts meaning you are in bed when the sun is out. We may cover up when out in the sun or wear sunscreen that blocks out UV rays. This means that many of us still aren't getting the amount of UV exposure we need to generate our vitamin d requirements, even in summer.

Others who are at risk of not getting enough vitamin d include those who are pregnant or breastfeeding, the over 65's, especially those who are housebound or in a care home, and people with darker skins (particularly those of African, African-Caribbean or South Asian origin). This is because darker skins are less efficient at converting UV into vitamin d.

In summary, if its not a sunny day when you're likely to be spending at least 20 mins or so outdoors with your skin (such as arms) exposed to the sun, it's worth considering a supplement.

What's the best type of vitamin D supplement ?

In a nutshell, it's the one you will actually take...!

Some people prefer a tablet or capsule, others like a spray. I've been trying out the new vitamin d spray from Rhitrition+ and am loving it. It's super simple to use, just one spray to the inside of my cheek and I know I've got the recommended amount for the day. I'm also loving the minty taste.

It's important to get the recommened dose. Too little won't be enought to meet your body's needs and too much can be dangerous. Buying from reputable sources such as Boots, Superdrug and UK supermarkets are all absolutely fine, as they will be the right dosage. Please always ensure you follow the guidance on the bottle.

It's worth noting that there are different types of vitamin d. D3 is more effective at raising vitamin d levels in the blood compared to vitamin D2, therefore, the best supplement to take is D3. However, as most D3 supplements are made from animal sources (lanolin from sheep), if you are vegan you will need to check the ingredients and look for a vegan-friendly option, such as an algae-based product.

As vitamin d is a fat soluble vitamin, it's a good idea to take it with a food or drink that contains some fat. For example, with whole or semi-skimmed milk, yoghurt, or eggs at breakfast. Or with dishes that contain some oil, dairy, meat, oily fish, butter, nuts, avocado etc. However, there's no need to hyper-focus on this, it's more important that you actually take the supplement than leave it because you're worried about when to have it.

Finally, don't worry about whether it's a spray or tablet. Again, use whatever you prefer. Sprays are really handy for those who struggle swallowing tablets and the small bottle is handy to carry with you.

Fancy saving some £££

I am proud to be an affiliate partner to Rhitrition+. This is a brand I trust as it's been formulated by Registered Nutritionst Rhiannon Lambert (see her website for more info about her and her credentials). It's based on sound scientific research and not pumped with unecessary additives. The vitamin d spray is also vegan-friendly.

If you would like to give any of the Rhitrition+ products a try - they have a vegan multivitamin and folic acid too. I have a discount code for 10%.

Just head to the website and type RACHELFLETCHER10 at checkout

(NB - I have received a gifted bottle of Vitamin d spray and receive a small payment for any purchase made with my code #ad #gifted #paidpartnership)

Want to learn more ?

For more information on vitamin d go to the NHS website

If you are unsure of your personal vitamin and mineral intake and/or requirements, book a free discovery call with me to find out how I can help you acheive your health goals.

Click here to book your call.

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