The December holiday is the ideal time to soak up some summer sunshine to get more vitamin D
an important nutrient to regulates numerous important processes in our bodies, from immunity and bone health to optimal metabolic function and heart health.
Most people could do with added vitamin D as it is one of the nutrients with one of the highest rates of deficiency (together with vitamin A2 and vitamin B12)1.
How your body makes vitamin D
Your body primarily creates vitamin D through direct sun exposure by synthesising cholesterol via the action of sunlight on a form of vitamin D contained in the skin called cholecalciferol (also known as vitamin D3), which is then stored in the body as it is a fat-soluble vitamin.
We also get vitamin D from dietary sources including egg yolks, beef liver, and fatty fish, such as tuna, herring, mackerel and salmon, as well as fortified dairy and cereal products and supplements.
What’s with the deficiency?
Various factors contribute to the prevalence of vitamin D deficiencies in modern society, with reduced exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays a major cause.
In an effort to reduce our risk of skin cancer, we regularly apply broad-spectrum sunscreens and spend less time outdoors when ultraviolet rays are strongest. Yet, 50-90% of vitamin D is absorbed through the skin via sunlight3.
We also get less vitamin D from our modern diets, with poor absorption due to common digestive issues such as celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), chronic pancreatic insufficiency, and cystic fibrosis, among others3, often compounding the issue.
Boost your health
Boosting vitamin D levels is vital for optimal bone health, as it regulates calcium absorption, and proper immune function.
Vitamin D also regulates gene expression across at least 160 pathways that have a wide variety of biologic functions4, and plays an important role in human development in the womb5,6.
Without sufficient vitamin D, we can experience numerous health-related issues, such as rickets in children and osteoporosis in adults, as well as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, and depression3.
4 ways to boost your Vitamin D levels:
- Boost skin to the sun’s ultraviolet rays for a few minutes each day. Optimal durations vary depending on skin type.
- Get this ultraviolet exposure as near to solar noon as possible – generally between 10h00 and 14h00.
- Add more vitamin D-rich foods to your daily diet.
- Supplement with Vitamin D3 products if additional support is required.