Vitamin D is affectionally known as the sunshine vitamin because we make this nutrient under the skin when exposed to sunlight. An interesting fact is that if your shadow is shorter than you, your body will produce this vitamin from sunlight. If your shadow is longer than you, you won’t produce it because the UVB rays from the sun are much weaker.
In the video below Amelia explains exactly why we need vitamin D and why we should consider taking a supplement.
Want to know more? Here you go….!
Why do I need vitamin D?
- It works with other minerals to keep our bones, teeth and muscles strong and healthy
- To prevent osteomalacia and the risk of falls
- For optimal pancreatic beta cell function (these cells produce insulin which keep our blood sugar levels in check)
- To boost immune system function and resilience
How much vitamin D do I need?
Since 2016 UK adults are recommended to have 10 micrograms every day. Prior to this it was thought that we produced and stored enough of this vitamin during the summer months to last us through the winter so there was no recommendation. Research has since proven this is not the case which is why we are recommended to take a supplement, especially during the winter months.
When is Vitamin D made in the skin?
In the UK we only absorb UVB rays from the sun and produce vitamin D between March and September. It takes between 10-20 minutes of sunlight exposure to optimise our stores and our skin must be exposed to the sun. If we are covered with clothes, sunscreen or even behind glass we won’t make any of this vitamin. Please remember to be careful in the sun, whilst it provides a natural source of vitamin D production, it also brings risks of sun burn and subsequent skin conditions.
Should I take a Vitamin D supplement?
UK adults are recommended to take a supplement during the autumn and winter months. Some groups are advised to take a supplement all year round including;
- Babies and young children
- Pregnant and breastfeeding people
- People over 65 years old
- People with darker skin tones
- If you spend very little time outside or tend to cover up your skin when you are outside
In summary, vitamin D is not a nutrient to be underestimated! If you want to find out more about this vitamin we recommend taking a look at the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) report.