- 25% of Brits are deficient in vitamin D, and by the end of February, the body is depleted of the vitamin.
- Those most at risk include vegans and vegetarians, pregnant women, young children, the elderly, and people with darker skin.
- Becky Graham, a qualified nutritionist at Get More Vits, offers her top tips on boosting vitamin D levels.
With 25% of Brits suffering from a vitamin D deficiency, a number which is on the rise, Becky Graham, a qualified nutritionist at leading vitamin water producer Get More Vits, has offered up her top tips to boost your vitamin D levels.
The government recommends that we take a vitamin D supplement of 10ug per day, and with February being the month of the year where our stores are well and truly depleted, it’s more important than ever to be thinking about our intake.
Becky explained, “Exposure to sunlight during the summer months provides us with the bare minimum levels of vitamin D, but during the winter months, with reduced access to sunlight as well as the position of the UK in the Northern hemisphere, means it’s impossible to get enough.
If you add to this our predominantly indoor lifestyle and liberal use of sunscreen, then it’s no surprise that around 25% of the British population are deficient in Vitamin D.”
Those particularly at risk include vegans and vegetarians, pregnant and breastfeeding women, infants and young children, people suffering with obesity, the elderly, people with darker skin, and those who regularly cover their skin.
To help increase your stores of vitamin D, Becky offered her top five tips for boosting your vitamin D levels…
1. Spend as much time outside as possible
One study looking at Caucasian adults aged 20-60 in the UK explored the necessary time we must spend outdoors to obtain sufficient vitamin D levels year-round without being sunburnt. They calculated that nine minutes of direct sun exposure on the forearms and legs every day, specifically at lunchtime, were required between March and September for 25(OH)D levels to remain at the required ≥25 nmol/L throughout the winter. Another study found those with darker skin need 25 minutes per day during the same months. People over 60 are at a disadvantage, as they have a reduced capacity to manufacture vitamin D in the skin, so supplementing is advised.
2. Eat Vitamin D containing foods
Dietary sources that include the active form of vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) are predominantly from animal origins such as beef liver, oily fish, mackerel, salmon, trout, tuna, sardines, cod liver oil, egg yolks and cheese. There is a small amount of vitamin D also found in pork, chicken, and turkey. To get enough to meet daily requirements, you would need to eat one large salmon fillet per day or 10 eggs, it is almost impossible to get enough from food alone.
3. Put your mushrooms in the sun!
Vitamin D plant-based sources include mushrooms and tofu, however they contain the less active form vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and at lower levels. Like humans, mushrooms can also manufacture vitamin D in their skin through exposure to UV rays. Wild mushrooms tend to have a higher vitamin D content than those that are commercially grown due to their access to sunlight, but you can increase their vitamin D content. So put them in a sunny spot like your windowsill.
4. Eat fortified foods
Due to low levels of vitamin D naturally available from dietary sources, many foods have vitamin D added such as dairy milk, plant milks, orange juice, fortified spreads, and breakfast cereals. This is usually clearly labelled on the packaging, so add them to your shopping list.
5. Take a supplement
Most of us would benefit from supplementing with vitamin D, but you can get more nutritional bang for your buck by choosing supplements that contain vitamin D3, which is 87% more potent than the plant form of vitamin D2.
Although the government recommends 10ug/400IU per day, it is important to know that this is the level given to prevent disease rather than for optimal health. Supplements contain around 1000IU – 4000IU, which is also considered safe for humans.
Those with a diagnosed deficiency may need a higher dose of vitamin D. Your GP can check your levels with a blood test and there are also private testing options available which you can do at home.
You can find out all you need to know about vitamin D and how much you need per day as well as top tips on boosting your vitamin D here: https://getmorevits.com/blogs/news/top-tips-to-boost-your-vitamin-d-levels