Boosting your vitamin D levels
Most people get the amount of vitamin D they need from sunlight (ultraviolet B exposure [UVB]) on the skin. We don’t need much, just 20–30 minutes of sunlight on the face and forearms around the middle of the day 2–3 times a week, in the summer months, is usually enough for people with fair skin, however those with darker skin, or the elderly, may need longer. Unfortunately for half the year (from October to April), 90% of the UK lies too far north to receive enough sunlight to allow our bodies to generate adequate supplies of vitamin D in the skin and so we may need to look to other sources, such as our diets, if we are to obtain adequate levels of vitamin D.
Important note: exposure to the sun is not the same as sunbathing; the bare skin simply needs to be exposed to sunlight (directly, i.e. not through a window)
Some foods that are easy to include in our everyday diet can help boost our vitamin D levels. These include:
Oily fish such as salmon, sardines and mackerel (canned or fresh), Egg yolk, Fortified fat spreads, Fortified breakfast cereals, Powdered milk
People who follow a strict vegetarian or vegan diet, or a non-fish-eating diet may be at a greater risk of vitamin D deficiency.
Did you know?Extra lean ham is up there in the list of most vitamin D rich foods – 3oz of extra lean ham contains almost one eighth of the vitamin D we require on a daily basis.
If you are identified as either having vitamin D deficiency or as being at particular risk of developing vitamin D deficiency, your doctor may decide to prescribe a vitamin D medicine.
These are available as capsules, oral solutions and injections. The medicines can be taken either daily, weekly or monthly depending on the medicine your doctor chooses to treat you.
Vitamin D supplements
There are Vitamin D supplements that you can buy at your pharmacy. These are manufactured to different standards than prescription-only medicines such as InvitaD3. Food supplements containing vitamin D show a large variation in the amount of vitamin D contained in them – some have much less than the label says; others have much more. You can’t be sure how much you’re getting.
A prescription-only medicine, on the other hand, lets you know exactly how much you’re getting. You can be sure with a prescription-only medicine, such as InvitaD3, that your medicine will provide you with a consistent amount of vitamin D.