Known as the 'sunshine' vitamin, vitamin D is an essential mineral that your body requires for many vital processes including the regulation of calcium and phosphate in the body and the normal maintenance of bones, teeth and muscles.
In the winter months when the UK gets less sunlight, how can you ensure you get your recommended intake of vitamin D and what are the best sources to achieve it?
As the days are shorter and colder, the amount of time we spend outside is often decreased during the winter months. If you’re often stuck indoors, it is recommended you go outside for some fresh air to maximise the chances of getting sunlight whether this is just taking a short walk to the shops, eating lunch outside or even walking to work.
It is important to remember that from late March/early April to the end of September, you should be able to get all the vitamin D you need from direct sunlight however, throughout the winter months when the amount of sunlight we get reduces, this is where you may need to look for alternative sources to gain your vitamin D intake.
Take a trip
The UK may be dark and gloomy in the winter months so why not take a trip to somewhere to get that winter sun? A winter getaway will not only give you time to enjoy a relaxing break but it’s also a perfect chance to top up your vitamin D levels. Top destinations for the sun in winter include the Canary Islands, Mexico, and of course Australia! If you are planning on taking a break remember sunscreen helps prevent sunburn by blocking UVB light. This can suggest that sunscreen use lowers Vitamin D levels. However, recent research indicates that your body can produce Vitamin D even while you’re wearing sunscreen.
Eat the right food sources
We don’t blame you if you’re not planning to spend much time outdoors throughout winter but it is important that you still maintain your recommended intake of vitamin D. You can gain small amounts of vitamin D from a variety of food sources including oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring and sardines, as well as red meat and eggs.
It can be difficult to achieve the recommended intakes from natural sources alone, particularly in winter and months of low sunlight. To protect bone and muscle health, Public Health England recommend intaking vitamin D equivalent to an average of 10 micrograms per day with supplementation where necessary.
“Vitamin D is found only in a small number of foods, so it is difficult to get enough from foods that naturally contain Vitamin D or fortified foods alone, so it may be necessary to take a Vitamin D supplement, especially if you spend limited time outside in the sunshine” says Tom Siebel, Managing Director of VÖOST Vitamins.
Our vitamin D effervescent tablets help support the maintenance of normal, healthy bones and teeth and contain 25µg per tablet.
If you’re unsure whether you need to take vitamin D supplements or don’t know what supplements to take speak to your pharmacist, GP or health visitor.
Explore more about our Vitamin D product here.