It’s no secret that vitamins are important for your body, but understanding how to obtain these vitamins is often overlooked. This is particularly the case with vitamin D, also referred to as “the sunshine vitamin”.
Within this guide, we will take you through how the sunshine vitamin earned its name, as well as helpful information on how to obtain vitamin D.
What Is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is an essential vitamin that contributes to a wide array of bodily functions. As stated and approved by the EFSA, it is most commonly known for:
- Maintaining bone health
- Contributing to calcium absorption
- Contributing to the normal function of the immune system
Unlike any other vitamin and mineral, vitamin D can be obtained from the sunlight. It can also be found in rich and oily foods, making it all the more important to obtain a balanced diet.
Why Is It Called The Sunshine Vitamin?
As you may have guessed, vitamin D is called “the sunshine vitamin” as we produce it when exposed to sunlight. Your whole body must be exposed to the sun for 30 minutes to meet your daily vitamin D requirement.
So how does this work, exactly? When the sun’s ultraviolet (UVB) rays hit your skin cells, your cholesterol musters up energy, allowing vitamin D synthesis to take place.
Can I Get Enough Vitamin D From Sunshine Alone?
Although it is possible to get enough vitamin D from sunshine alone, this all depends on the time of year and where you live. According to the NHS, spending around 30 minutes outside should be enough to meet vitamin D requirements in the summer months. In the winter, however, it’s a different story.
During the autumn and winter months, the UK sun isn’t strong enough to help our body produce vitamin D. This, in addition to spending more time indoors, makes it incredibly difficult to get enough of the vitamin through sunshine alone.
If you spend a lot of time indoors or are living in the UK during the winter months, you must make the effort to source your vitamin D elsewhere.
Do I Need To Take Vitamin D Supplements?
As mentioned earlier in this guide, vitamin D can also be found in rich and oily foods. However, this isn’t always reliable, and will entirely depend on your diet and other lifestyle factors. With this in mind, many people take supplements to safeguard their vitamin D intake during the less-sunnier months.
The UK Department of Health has advised everyone to consider taking daily vitamin D supplements, especially during autumn and winter when there isn’t as much sunlight or time spent outdoors. This will help to ensure that your body is getting the right amount of vitamin D, even on the days where maintaining a balanced diet and getting enough sunlight isn’t possible.
Embrace The Vitamin We All Need
Vitamin D plays an incredibly important role in normal bodily functions, meaning it’s important to get enough of it each day. With help from time spent in the sun, a healthy diet and vitamin D supplements, you’ll have everything you need to meet adequate levels.