It’s often known as the sunshine vitamin, because the main source of vitamin D is from sunlight – unlike other vitamins which we get from food. Vitamin D is produced in our bodies from exposure to sunlight on our skin, but if we are spending a lot of time indoors, we are at risk of not getting enough.
Vitamin D guidance
During the autumn and winter months, because the sun is not as strong, we can’t make all the vitamin D we need. It was thought that our bodies could make enough in the summer months to store for the winter – but recent evidence suggests this may not be the case for most of us. Because of this, we are advised to take a vitamin D supplement from October to March.
Although we’re now in May, the current situation in the UK means we’re probably spending less time than usual outside, so it makes sense to keep supplementing our diets with vitamin D. And if you are someone who isn’t able to go outside at all, it’s definitely important to continue taking a vitamin D supplement. For advice on Vitamin D supplementation check out this NHS web page.
While some foods contain vitamin D, it’s not many, so food is not a great source of this vitamin. Sunlight or supplementation are most effective.
Vitamin D and immunity
In recent years, research has found a link between vitamin D and immunity, with some studies indicating that vitamin D deficiency could increase susceptibility to certain infections. There is currently a lack of long term studies in humans to back up the laboratory research, so more work is needed before we understand the full effect of vitamin D on immunity. That said, we do know the important role vitamin D plays in bone health, so ensuring you’re getting enough is definitely important – and it may also help to protect you from certain infections.