Vitamin D: Why is it important and what are the benefits?

Find out more about the importance of Vitamin D and why we need it.

Vitamin D

by Eleanor Weaver |

We all know about the many vitamins and supplements available that promise to help us feel better from the inside out, but perhaps the most important vitamin of them all is Vitamin D.

Vitamin D is essential when it comes to healthy bones and teeth and may help protect us from a range of diseases.

The body can produce vitamin D as a result of exposure to sunlight and also from consuming certain foods. There are two forms of vitamin D, vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol), which is made by plants and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol), which is made by animals and humans. However, both are just referred to as 'vitamin D'.

If you think your body is in need of a little more vitamin D, keep reading to find out more about the benefits, supplements and signs of a deficiency.

Read more: Foods that contain vitamin D

Benefits of vitamin D

sunlight

Healthy bones and teeth

Vitamin D plays a huge part in regulating the calcium and phosphorus levels in our body which is vital when it comes to maintaining healthy bones. The vitamin D allows the intestines to absorb that all important calcium.

Supports immune system

There have been a number of studies which suggest vitamin D can help support the immune system when it comes to protecting our bodies against the flu.

Regulates insulin levels

Vitamin D is closely linked with diabetes, as it's believed that vitamin D helps to improve the body's sensitivity to insulin (which is responsible for regulating the blood sugar levels in the body), therefore reducing the risk of insulin resistance which is often what can lead to the development of type 2 diabetes.

Supports cardiovascular health

Some studies have suggested that a deficiency in vitamin D could lead to a number of cardiovascular problems including cardiovascular disease, hypertension, heart failure, and ischemic heart disease.

Related: Vitamin B12 benefits and sources

Vitamin D deficiency: Signs and symptoms

Some of the symptoms of vitamin d deficiency may include:

If a vitamin D deficiency continues over a long period, it could cause a number of long term affects including osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, autoimmune problems, infections and more.

Although the body produces vitamin D, there are a number of factors which can affect our ability to absorb vitamin d which may lead to a deficiency.

Skin type - darker skin can reduce the bodies ability to absorb vitamin D.

Suncream - although there are many benefits to wearing a suncream, wearing an SPF of 30 or over can reduce the bodies ability to absorb vitamin d, so it might be a good idea to go suncream free for the first 15 minutes in the sun.

Where you live - people who live further north of the equator are more likely to have less sunlight on a daily basis.

Lifestyle - those who work night shifts or mostly work indoors are also likely to experience vitamin d deficiency.

Other sources of vitamin D

Vitamin-d-supplements

It's not just the sun that can give us vitamin D. We can also absorb it from a variety of foods too. Although the amount of vitamin D in food is little, the best sources for it including fatty fish (salmon, tuna, sword fish, sardine) mushrooms, egg yolks, cheese, fortified cereals, juices and milk as well as beef liver.

Vitamin D supplements

If you prefer to know you're getting your recommended dose of vitamin D in the form of a supplement, it's important to know how much you should take.

Infants (0–12 months): 400 IU (10 mcg).

Children (1–18 years): 600 IU (15 mcg).

Adults (up to 70 years): 600 IU (15 mcg).

Adults (over 70 years): 800 IU (20 mcg).

Pregnant or lactating women: 600 IU (15 mcg).

Most people will get their vitamin D dose from sunlight, but if you prefer a supplement, especially in the winter, we've listed some of the best below.

Vitabiotics | Ultra Vitamin D3 Tablets

Ultra Vitamin D3 Tablets
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Tablets: 96 Dosage: 1 tablet per day

Vitamin D3 Drops 60ml

Vitamin D3 Drops 60ml
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Drops: 2000 Dosage: One drop per day on the tongue or in a glass of water

Vitamin D Gummies

Vitamin D Gummies
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Tablets: 60 Dosage: 1 gummy daily

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