Do you really need to supplement vitamin D in summer?

Despite the longer days – and the more chances to be outside that summer brings – many of us living here in the UK still don't get enough vitamin D (the essential vitamin produced by the body when it is exposed to sunlight).

According to the NHS, that amount is around 10 micrograms (400 IU) of vitamin D per day for everyone over the age of one. While it's possible to get this quantity from the sun between April and September, in reality that can't always happen – nor is it considered safe by some. Ergo, supplementation is commonly advised.

But to better understand the importance of vitamin D – and the best ways to get sufficient amounts and when – we spoke to the experts for the facts.

What is vitamin D and why is it important?

"Vitamin D is crucial for keeping your body running smoothly, and not getting enough can lead to serious health issues," explains health expert Dr. Naomi Newman-Beinart (PhD). "Many people in the UK are lacking in this important vitamin, which is key for healthy bones and teeth, your mood, and supporting your immune system." There is also some evidence to show that vitamin D could help prevent some cancers, cardiovascular disease and multiple sclerosis.

How do you know if you're deficient in vitamin D?

"Deficiency can be assessed via a simple blood test – if you suspect you may be deficient ask your GP to test you or get tested privately," says the nutritionist Kim Pearson. "Common symptoms of deficiency include lower-back pain, muscle weakness, muscle aches, and fatigue; but you can be deficient and experience no symptoms at all."

How much vitamin D do you need?

"According to the NHS, everyone over the age of one needs about 10 micrograms (400 IU) of vitamin D a day, with the safe upper limit for vitamin D being 100μg (4,000 IU) a day," confirms Dr. Newman-Beinart.

"While it's especially important to take vitamin D during the darker months, some people should consider supplementing all year round —especially if they spend most of their time indoors, have darker skin, are over the age of 65 or under the age of five, are pregnant, breastfeeding, or follow a vegan diet."

Can you get enough vitamin D from your diet?

"Foods such as oily fish (like salmon and mackerel), red meat, liver, egg yolks, and fortified foods (such as some cereals and spreads) do contribute to our vitamin D intake," says Dr. Newman-Beinart. "But while some foods are rich in vitamin D, dietary sources alone are often insufficient to meet the recommended levels." For people who don’t eat these foods nor get regular sunshine, "it may be worth considering a vitamin D supplement all year round," she feels.

How does SPF affect your vitamin D levels?

"We all need some UV for our bodies to make vitamin D – but most people can make enough vitamin D without spending a long time in strong sun or risking sunburn," says Sarah Williams, Cancer Research UK's health information manager.

Dr. Newman-Beinart explains: "While essential for protecting our skin from harmful UV rays, sunscreen can also impede vitamin D synthesis. SPF works by blocking UVB rays, the type of sunlight responsible for stimulating vitamin D production in the skin." But this doesn't mean you should skip sunscreen, the experts unanimously agree. "Instead, manage your sun exposure wisely. For instance, brief periods of sun exposure (about 10-15 minutes) without sunscreen can be sufficient for vitamin D production, followed by sunscreen application to protect against prolonged exposure." Or, you could rely on supplementation entirely.

What's the best way to supplement vitamin D?

do you really need to supplement vitamin d in summer?

BetterYou D3000 IU Oral Spray

£6.12

The pharmacist specialising in vitamins, Shabir Daya, recommends taking the BetterYou D3000 IU Daily Oral Spray in the winter months and then swapping to the brand's 1000 IU Daily Oral Spray throughout the summer. And Dr. Newman-Beinart concurs, "because BetterYou uses science-backed intra-oral spray technology that delivers the active ingredient through the cheek (buccally) rather than relying on absorption through the digestive system".

The mouth is an excellent receptor for supplements, she says, "because of its soft, absorbent tissue and because it is so close to the body’s vein system".

OTHER NEWS

26 minutes ago

Wales player ratings: ‘Gritty’ back-row again impress as Wallabies claim series win

26 minutes ago

I’m a Pro Packer, and These Are the 15 Versatile Styles I’m Tossing in My Suitcase for My Next Trip

26 minutes ago

Catholic Bishop invites Americans to 'take the time to focus on the Lord' during 10,000 hour prayer campaign

26 minutes ago

Crochet Tops Are Undoubtedly Summer's Unsung Hero Piece

32 minutes ago

Frawley's stunning drop goals send Ireland to special win in Durban

32 minutes ago

Serial killer expert of Hulu’s Mastermind names one thing women should do to stay safe

32 minutes ago

How cancel culture is killing mental health

32 minutes ago

Heath Miller Reflects on Ben Roethlisberger’s Iconic Super Bowl XLIII TD Pass: ‘People Always Talk about the Catch’

32 minutes ago

Everton reach agreement with Tottenham over future payments for Dele Alli - even though the forgotten England star is now a free agent

32 minutes ago

Joe Biden campaigns in Michigan following NATO summit

32 minutes ago

Turbulence: How Safe Is Your Flight? New Seven doco goes inside drama of Singapore Airlines flight SQ321

32 minutes ago

Twisters: Glen Powell, Daisy Edgar-Jones and Anthony Ramos on the making of blockbuster Twisters

32 minutes ago

Charlie Albone: Watering well could be the difference between flourish or failure

39 minutes ago

'Wish both could win!' London's Spanish community divided over Euros

39 minutes ago

Home Affairs Minister Leon Schreiber praised as dozens of construction workers run off in viral clip

39 minutes ago

Want to Become a Podcast Host? Sign Up for DFI's Podcast Lab

39 minutes ago

Angela Rayner is already being frozen out, allies fear

39 minutes ago

British Open 2024: Chance at atonement for McIlroy at Troon

39 minutes ago

Brooklyn school near toxic Gowanus Canal latest property to be flagged for contaminated air as NY probes 100 nearby blocks

39 minutes ago

Alec Baldwin’s fatal flaw and more: Letters to the Editor — July 14, 2024

39 minutes ago

Beat the Texas summer heat with cool art

39 minutes ago

Christina Hall Only Spent $75K to Renovate Her Parents' Heavily Outdated Home

39 minutes ago

Chet Holmgren talks about his experience training with Kevin Garnett - "That (expletive) was sweating more than me"

39 minutes ago

King Charles appears to have bought a $6.6 million condo in NYC — but probably will never sleep there

39 minutes ago

Coffee prices to jump because of ‘terrible’ EU rules

39 minutes ago

NY Liberty vs. Chicago Sky preview: Daytime basketball in Chicago

39 minutes ago

Barbora Krejcikova holds off Jasmine Paolini fightback to win Wimbledon crown

39 minutes ago

Victor Wembanyama Was Bending His Legs To Make Rudy Gobert Look Taller

39 minutes ago

Boris Johnson dances with ex-Austrian PM as he and Tony Blair enjoy India’s ‘wedding of the century’

39 minutes ago

Free Agent Agrees 2-year, $16 Million Deal With Philadelphia 76ers

39 minutes ago

North Korea Nuclear Attack Would Trigger 'Overwhelming' U.S. Response, Biden Warns

45 minutes ago

Spain phenom Lamine Yamal has electrified Euro 2024. In hometown, family and friends not surprised

45 minutes ago

Man Utd miffed after collapse of 99% done deal but sensational silver lining sends Ratcliffe into raptures

45 minutes ago

'The best day of my life': Barbora Krejcikova wins Wimbledon, defeating Jasmine Paolini

45 minutes ago

How two women share a Manhattan studio apartment for $3,500 a month — but never at the same time

45 minutes ago

The First Thing To Look For When Buying Prime Rib

45 minutes ago

Peaceful pre-Olympic protest in Paris honors fallen Ukrainian athletes

45 minutes ago

Jasmine Paolini reflects on journey after defeat in Wimbledon final: ‘I’m scared to dream too much’

45 minutes ago

Allyson Felix, Pampers to launch first-ever nursery at Paris Olympics

45 minutes ago

Russian wrestler turns down offer to go to Paris Games