Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning it requires some form of fat to be present to assist in the absorption. There are a few different sources that you can use in order to get vitamin D into your body. There are also many health benefits associated with regular consumption ranging from improving bone health, boosting your immune system and improving your mood.
As recommended by the Department of Health, we should aim to consume two oily fish per week. Additionally, these fishes are packed full of omega 3 and 6 which in turn can help increase your healthy fat (HDL).
Dietary ways to get Vitamin D include;
- Salmon, mackerel, sardines, herring
- Egg yolks
- Beef liver (beware of its high cholesterol content though)
Alternatively, there are vegetarian options in which you might prefer;
- Mushrooms that have been exposed to UV light
- Fortified milk substitutes such as almond milk or soy milk
A note should be made about the vitamin D content supplied by plants does come in the form of D2 which is less bioavailable, meaning it does not absorb as well. Compared to D3 which is found in fish and meat. Obviously, it is still your decision as to which you prefer.
Sunlight, more specifically ultraviolet blue rays (UVB), can contribute to vitamin D synthesis. There are a few catches to this method, firstly the weather plays one of the largest roles in the amount of UVB. Secondly, location contributes to the amount and quality of these rays as they can be affected by things such as air pollution and higher latitudes. Lastly, the skin tone of an individual has a vital role in how much vitamin D is synthesised by the skin. If people have a darker skin tone, they might find it harder to synthesis vitamin D compared to someone with a lighter skin tone. Additionally, as we get older, our skin becomes less efficient at synthesising vitamin D.
Consuming vitamin D with calcium has been proven to help strengthen your bones and prevent rickets and osteomalacia (softening of bones). Vitamin D is needed for proper cell growth, nerve and muscle function and a healthy immune system. It likewise helps to reduce inflammation, which is thought to contribute to conditions like heart disease, diabetes and autoimmune diseases.Studies suggest that vitamin D might play an important role in regulating mood and helping to reduce any symptoms of depression.
Recommendations and Guidelines
Following the guidelines set by the Department of Health. We should aim for 10 micrograms (400 international units) per day.