It’s no secret that your body relies on a lot of essential vitamins to function normally. Different vitamins impact different bodily functions, making them all as important as each other. However, now more than ever, you should be monitoring your vitamin D intake.
We’re here to debunk some common vitamin D myths, establishing the truth behind this “sunshine vitamin”. This will help you to understand the importance – and functions – of vitamin D.
1. Myth: Food Contains All The Vitamin D We Need
There’s a common misconception that a balanced diet will give us all the vitamin D we need. This assumption is understandable, considering the majority of vitamins are obtained via a healthy diet.
Fact: Unlike most other vitamins, we cannot obtain enough vitamin D through diet alone. This is because most of the vitamin comes from sunlight, instead. Your skin actually produces vitamin D3 when exposed to strong enough sunlight!
Unfortunately, the UK sun isn’t always strong enough, especially during the winter months. As you can’t obtain enough of the vitamin through food alone, it’s sensible to take vitamin D3 tablets to safeguard your levels.
2. Myth: There’s No Such Thing As Too Much Vitamin D
Many people believe that, the more vitamins they give their body, the better. However, this is very rarely the case, and may actually lead to complications further down the line.
Fact: It is true that you cannot overdose on vitamin D through exposure to sunlight. However, taking too much vitamin D through supplements may pose a health risk. For example, vitamin D supports the absorption of calcium, meaning having too high of an intake might cause a buildup of calcium. This is related to an issue called hypercalcaemia.
In the UK, the Department of Health and Social Care recommends for anyone over the age of one to take 10 micrograms of vitamin D a day.
3. Myth: Everyone Needs The Same Amount Of Vitamin D
During the spring and summer months, the majority of us should be able to get enough vitamin D via sunlight. Because of this, people think that everyone requires the same amount of vitamin D. This is only partially true.
Fact: For the most part, most of us need 10 micrograms of vitamin D every day. However, babies under the age of 1 can cope with around 8.5 micrograms (NHS, 2021). Pregnant and breastfeeding women can stick to the 10 microgram requirement.
4. Myth: 5 Minutes In The Sun Is All We Need
There’s no denying that vitamin D is a bit of a complicated vitamin. ‘Getting it from sunlight’ is a bit vague, especially when the weather is unpredictable. This vagueness leads people to believe that stepping outside in the sun for a few minutes is more than enough.
Fact: Truth is, there’s no set time limit when sourcing vitamin D through the sun. Every single body is different, meaning the time it takes to produce the vitamin will vary.
According to NHS guidelines, spending about 20 to 30 minutes in the sun should be enough. This will vary, though, depending on the country you live in and time of year.