Now summer is here and the sun is starting to show its face, many people choose not to take their vitamin D supplements. After all, sunshine is the best natural source of vitamin D – so why should we continue to supplement during the summer? Well, to start with sunny days are few and far between in the UK, and the body does not store excess vitamin D – so we would need guaranteed sunshine every day in order to get our daily dose of the vitamin. Not only do you need guaranteed sunshine every day, but you would also need to spend a minimum of 20 minutes at the peak time (between 11am-3pm) outside with your hands, forearms and lower legs exposed – without an SPF. How many of us can honestly say we do this every day?
If you work outside, spend a lot of time in the garden or choose to go for a lunchtime run (all without sunscreen) – you might be getting enough vitamin D from sunshine alone on the few days of the year that the sun actually shines in this country.
Whilst we can get some vitamin D from food sources, it is worth noting that 90% of the vitamin D we need should come from sunlight. Vitamin D food sources are limited, particularly if you are vegan or vegetarian. Therefore taking a vitamin D supplement is the likely the best failsafe way to ensure you are getting the correct levels of the vitamin.
The facts: Why do we need vitamin D?
So we’ve explained why you should continue supplementing with vitamin D in the summer, but why do we need vitamin D?
Supports normal bones & teeth
Vitamin D promotes calcium absorption, in turn supporting normal bone and teeth health. Without sufficient vitamin D, bones can become thin, brittle or misshapen.
Helps fight disease
Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to various diseases and illnesses including heart disease, severe respiratory illnesses and increased risked of infections.
May help regulate mood and reduce depression
A review found that when supplementing with vitamin D, those that experienced negative emotions saw a significant improvement in their symptoms.