3 ways to boost your winter Vitamin D levels
At this time of year, after several long months of winter and a while to go before spring properly kicks in, most of us Brits are running low on vitamin D, and just under a quarter of us are at levels low enough to risk a negative impact on our health.
Vital for Life
That’s because the primary source of vitamin D in humans is sunlight, absorbed through our skin. The liver converts it into a hormone called calcitriol is carried around the body and plays a vital role in all kinds of functions, including the immune system, digestion and cell communication from our brains to our toe bones.
Without enough of it we increase our chances of getting all kinds of problems including osteoporosis, heart disease, depression, dementia and diabetes.
As a general rule, the darker your skin, the less vitamin D you are able to make. So ginger-haired and very fair skinned people rarely get too low in vitamin D, whereas Asian, African and African-Caribbean people need lots of sunshine, or lots of supplementary vitamin D to stay healthy.
Everybody Loves The Sunshine
Unfortunately for us living in the UK, on average we only get enough sunshine to make all the vitamin D we need in June, July and August. The rest of the year we have to make sure are topping up from our diet and by taking supplements.
1 in 4 of us are running dangerously low on Vitamin D this winter. Tag that friend who's desperate for some sunshine…
Posted by BALANCE on Thursday, March 8, 2018
The BALANCE Index: Everything you need to know about vitamin D in 60 seconds.
3 Ways to Boost Your Vitamin D Levels
1. Get Your Tats Out
The reason we don’t get enough D in winter isn’t just because the daylight hours are shorter or the sun’s rays are weaker, it’s because our skin is covered up all the time when we’re outside. Exposing your forearms to direct sunlight for 25 mins in the middle part of the day can boost your vit D levels by 50% even if it’s cloudy. So when you pop out to Pret to grab your lunch, role up your sleeves like you’re ready to rumble and soak up some rays. But don’t rely on this alone, you’d be well advised to take a supplement too.
2. Eat Smart
Salmon is by far the richest source of dietary vitamin D there is. Wild salmon has been found to contain up to 3 times more vitamin D than the much more affordable but less tasty farmed variety. Eggs (specifically the yolk) are also a good source of vitamin D. For vegetarians and vegans it’s a lot trickier to stay topped up, and it is strongly recommended that you take a vitamin D supplement such as Healthspan’s MultiVitality for Vegetarians and Vegans, particularly in the colder months.
Top Tip: Mushrooms can absorb vitamin D from the sun the same way we do. However most mushrooms in the supermarket are grown in total darkness. So when you take them home, before putting them in the fridge, stick them by the window for a few hours to ‘activate’ them and make them vitamin D richer.
3. Take Your Vitamins
The ONLY way to be really sure you are getting enough vitamin D is to take a supplement. The most recent advice from Public Health England (the communication bit of the NHS) suggests that everyone in the UK should take at least 10 micrograms of Vitamin D in supplement form every day between September and May to ensure healthy teeth, bones and muscles.
Try Healthspan’s Super Strength Vitamin D3 in capsule of spray form.