Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps the body absorb calcium and maintain healthy bones and teeth. It also plays an important role in the immune system and muscle function. Unlike other vitamins, vitamin D is not present in many foods.
Chase the Sun
Sunlight is the best source of vitamin D. When our skin is exposed to sunlight, it produces vitamin D3, which is then converted by the liver and kidneys into its active form, calcitriol. It’s recommended to spend 10-15 minutes in the sun without sunscreen, two to three times a week, to help the body produce vitamin D. After that, it’s important to apply sunscreen to protect the skin.
According to NHS guidelines, from late March/early April to the end of September, most people in the UK should be able to make all the vitamin D they need from sunlight. The body creates vitamin D from direct sunlight on the skin when outdoors. However, between October and early March, our bodies do not make enough vitamin D from sunlight.
Living in a place where there is little sunlight or spending most of our time indoors can lead to a vitamin D deficiency. Therefore, it’s important to get enough vitamin D, either through sunlight exposure or supplementation.
Foods Rich in Vitamin D
If we’re not getting enough vitamin D through sunlight, we can also obtain it through our diet. Vitamin D is obtained naturally through exposure to sunlight and from certain foods, such as oily fish, red meat, liver, egg yolks and fortified foods such as some fat spreads and breakfast cereals.
However, it can be difficult to get enough vitamin D through diet alone, which is why supplementation is recommended.
How Much Vitamin D Do I Need?
The NHS shares that from about late March/early April to the end of September, the majority of people should be able to make all the vitamin D they need from sunlight on their skin.
From one, children and adults need 10 micrograms of vitamin D a day. This includes pregnant and breastfeeding women. It is recommended that babies up to the age of one year consume 8.5 to 10 micrograms of vitamin D a day.
During the autumn and winter, you need to get vitamin D from your diet because the sun is not strong enough for the body to make vitamin D.
However, since it's difficult for people to get enough vitamin D from food alone, the NHS suggests that everyone including pregnant and breastfeeding women should consider taking a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D during the autumn and winter.
Many of BioGaia's probiotics for adults and probiotics for children, including our new Pharax Kids drops contain vitamin D. Vitamin D contributes to the normal function of the immune system and is needed for normal growth and development of bones in adults and children.