We know you have heard it many times before... "Make sure to get your VITAMIN D"! The dark winter months are ahead of us, which unfortunately means limited time spend in the sun. Below you can read why we advise supporting your body with Vitamin D - especially through the coming months.
Below is a quick lesson on VITAMIN D - this is important knowledge for everyone:)
WHAT IS VITAMIN D?
It is important to understand VITAMIN D and why it is such a critical part of your system - it's not something you wish to be low on! VITAMIN D is an essential vitamin, which means we are NOT able to produce it ourselves. Therefore we must get it from an external source - sunlight or diet.
VITAMIN D is a fat soluble vitamin, which means that it needs fat to be absorbed in the body. However there are 2 important sources of VITAMIN D which you absorb differently. See below...
HOW DO I GET VITAMIN D?
The main source to VITAMIN D is through the sun. When the sun directly hits your skin, VITAMIN D is formed and absorbed in the skin. It needs to be direct sunlight and especially on your chest and upper part of your back.
There are certain factors that limit your ability to absorb VITAMIN D from the sun:
- SUNSCREEN - it products your skin from dagerous UV-light, however it might also have an effect on your ability to absorb VITAMIN D.
- OFFICE WORK - many drive to work in their car, go straight to the office with artificial lights and drive back home - a whole day with NO direct sun exposure. Makes it difficult to get the right amount of VITAMIN D.
- SEASONAL CHANGES: Limited sunlight during seasonal changes. In the northern countries the access to the sun is limited 50% of the year. This means that your main source of VITAMIN D is not available. The sun shines during the day, however it's often dark when you leave for work and dark when you come home again...
Besides sunlight, you also get VITAMIN D from your diet. But your diet alone will not be able to cover your total need for VITAMIN D. You get VITAMIN D from foods such as:
- Fatty fish (salmon, sardines, mackerel etc)
- Red meats
As you can see, above sources are from animals. Your VITAMIN D level will therefore also be affected if you don't eat fish, meat or eggs. This is important information if you choose to live by a vegan diet.
WHAT DOES VITAMIN D DO FOR YOU?
VITAMIN D plays an important role in a lot of critical processes in your body. We have listed some of them below:
- IMMUNE FUNCTION: VITAMIN D supports a normal and well functioning immune system. There are VITAMIN D receptors and activating enzymes on the surfaces of all White Blood Cells. It is very complex to explain the role of VITAMIN D, but it plays a great part in keeping the immune system in balance.
- BONE HEALTH: Without VITAMIN D, our bodies cannot effectively absorb calcium, which is essential to optimal bone health. Calcium is often the hero of bones - however it is not much worth without Vitamin D. This is especially important for children and elderly - however to secure healthy bones throughout your life, you must be aware of your levels at all ages. VITAMIN D contributes to normal and healthy bone growth.
- TEETH HEALTH: Like bones, our teeth are also affected by our ability to absorb calcium. The same rule goes for teeth as well as for bones - VITAMIN D contributes to normal and healthy teeth growth. . This goes for all ages - however super important when it comes to children.
- MUSCLE FUNCTION: VITAMIN D also contributes to normal muscle function.
SHOP VITAMIN D HERE
There is a reason why health authorities around the world recommend supplementing 10 mcg of VITAMIN D
to breastfed or bottle-fed infants from when they are 14 days old. In the UK it is also recommended to supplement children in the age of 1-4 years with 10 mcg Vitamin D daily (source)
. This is due to the fact they they are not exposed in direct sunlight.
It is also recommended that pregnant women secure their VITAMIN D
levels. It helps contribute to a normal growth and development of bone and teeth of the fetus.ELDERLY:
This also apply to elderly people not getting out in direct sunlight. Elderly people are often put in the shade, because of the heat - or some never get the chance to go outside because of limited help.DARK SKIN
: People with dark skin also have a challenge when it comes to VITAMIN D
. Because of the high amount of melanin in the skin (color that makes it dark), it lowers the skin's ability to make vitamin D in response to sunlight exposure. Some studies show that older adults with darker skin are at high risk of vitamin D deficiency (source)
. Are you aware of this?
HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH?
You cannot get too much VITAMIN D from the sun - however it's different with supplements.
When supplementing the tolerable upper level of VITAMIN D for adults is 100 mcg / (4000 iu) a day. This is based on recommendations from EFSA (European Food Safety Authorities).
Regarding children aged 1-10 years the tolerable upper level is 50 mcg / 2000 iu.
VITAMIN D is a fat soluble vitamin and not water soluble. This means that the body does not excrete excess amounts as easily as with water soluble vitamins ( you pee them out). This is why you maybe relate vitamin D to "Don't take too much Vitamin D, it's dangerous" and yes, you can get too much VITAMIN D, but you can also get too little. This is why we always recommend respecting the upper limits created by EFSA.
WHAT LEVEL SHOULD I HAVE? If in doubt, get your VITAMIN D level measured at your doctor or at a private clinic. Then you know exactly if it's too high or too low. Our experts recommend to have a level of 50 ng/mL or more.
VITAMIN D2 OR D3?
When talking supplements and VITAMIN Dwe mostly use D2 or D3. We always recommend taking D3 as it is the most active and effective form of VITAMIN D.
Make sure you are aware of this when you go shopping for VITAMIN D.
Some VITAMIN D supplements are already mixed with an oil, some are not. If it's not, make sure to take you VITAMIN D with an oil fx omega 3 or with a meal that contains fat, as it will help the improve the absorbability.