I know we’re officially a few days into autumn but it’s thankfully still feeling very summery right now, so get outside in the sun and make that vitamin D!
Vitamin D is actually a hormone rather than a vitamin; it is required to absorb calcium and phosphate from the gut into the bloodstream. It is mostly produced in the skin in response to sunlight & approx 10% from food; dairy, soy, mushrooms, oily fish and fortified foods.
It is not always possible to make enough vitamin D in summer months in the northern hemisphere due to cloud coverage, sunscreen use, high pollution, tall buildings, working/being indoors.
If you get outside between 10am-3pm in the warmer months (and now), you should be able to make a reasonable amount of vitamin D. Have 20 minutes of sun exposure without sunscreen, build up slowly if you are fairer skinned, earlier rather than midday.
A good guide as to whether you will be making vitamin D is if when you stand outside in sunshine, your shadow is shorter than you. Look at the ‘D minder’ website/app to guide you as to how much sun exposure you need calculated from your location.
Cholesterol is needed to convert sunshine to vitamin D3 in our bodies, one of the many benefits of cholesterol, which often gets a bad press.
Taking vitamin D alongside K2 ensures that calcium absorbed is deposited where it needs to be, in bones, as opposed to elsewhere such as arteries.
As mentioned, it is best to test rather than guess, the NHS supplementation recommendation of 10mcg/400IU (from 4yrs up) daily between Oct-March is not always enough from my experience, hence why testing is important to help guide what therapeutic dose is required.
There are many inexpensive private home kit testing options as well as the NHS, e.g. Thriva, Medichecks, BetterYou (who will also send out the recommended dose of vitamin D) or https://www.vitamindtest.org.uk/
Vitamin D supports immunity, reduces respiratory infections, autoimmunity, bones, heart health, mood, depression, hormones, fertility and is anti-inflammatory. In view of this, I always support clients around testing, interpretation and supplementation if indicated.