Vitamin D | Everything You Need To Know

Compared to most vitamins, vitamin D is very different. It's known as ‘the sunshine vitamin’ because it is produced in your skin when exposed to sunlight. However, relying on the sun alone rarely provides adequate levels of vitamin D. To maintain sufficient levels of vitamin D throughout the body you may need to take a food supplement in addition to your normal diet.

This post will help you gain a better understanding of what Vitamin D is, what it’s benefits are and how you can increase your vitamin D levels through your diet.

What is vitamin D?

Vitamin D is an important vitamin for the body. Vitamin D is normally produced in the skin when exposed to UV rays from the sun. It’s fat-soluble, which means it is present in very few foods and may need to be added to others (fortified foods), or taken as a dietary supplement.

What are the benefits of vitamin D?

Vitamin D has beneficial effects on the following:

  • The immune system
  • Maintenance of bone and teeth
  • Absorption and utilisation of calcium and phosphorus
  • Maintenance of normal blood calcium concentrations
  • Cell division
  • Thyroid function
  • Brain and nervous system health
  • Lung function and cardiovascular health
  • Regulating insulin levels

Trinity College Dublin has recently published further evidence as to the importance of vitamin D in relation to respiratory conditions, including COVID-19.

Vitamin D deficiency

Vitamin D deficiency is very common, but most people are unaware of their deficiency because the symptoms of low vitamin D can be subtle. If you think you have a deficiency in Vitamin D you should speak to your doctor.

How might you become deficient in vitamin D? There are a number of reasons why this can happen:

  • You don't consume enough vitamin D rich foods
  • Your body does not absorb enough vitamin D from your food
  • You are not getting enough exposure to sunlight, particularly when forced to stay indoors most of the time
  • Your liver or kidneys cannot convert vitamin D to its active form
  • You are taking medicines that interfere with your body's ability to convert or absorb vitamin D

Some people may have a higher risk of vitamin D deficiency:

  • Older adults are often deficient because aging skin becomes less efficient at producing vitamin D. This also applies to the kidneys as they become less efficient at converting vitamin D.
  • People with darker skin tones naturally absorb less of the UV light required
  • People with chronic disorders such as Crohn's disease or celiac disease 

A severe vitamin D deficiency in children can lead to diseases such as rickets. Rickets is a rare disease that causes the bones to become soft and bend.

Foods rich in vitamin D

The modern diet does not contain high quality sources of vitamin D. Vitamin D is the only nutrient produced by your body when it is exposed to sunlight. Due to Covid-19 many people have become more sedentary and do not get enough outdoor activity, so we need to be mindful of getting outdoors and eating foods that are rich in vitamin D.

High quantities of vitamin D are present in many common foods. These include

  • Oily fish
  • Mushrooms
  • Eggs
  • Orange juice
  • Fortified foods
  • Nuts or drinks containing nuts

 Other great sources of vitamin D are dietary supplements such as Satipharm Active capsules.

How much vitamin D do you need per day?

How much vitamin D you need depends on many factors.

  • Your age
  • Skin tone
  • Natural sunlight may be limited in the region where you live
  • Which season it is
  • How much sun exposure you get

The European Commission has set the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA)/Nutrient Reference Value (NRV) for vitamin D at 5ug per day. 

Vitamin D and COVID-19 

Stemming from the recently published Irish Longitudinal Survey, The Irish Medical Journal has stated that a vitamin D deficiency may contribute to increased risk of respiratory infection, including COVID-19. They recommend that the general adult population and anyone who is at risk of a vitamin D deficiency urgently supplement with 20-50ug per day of vitamin D to enhance their resistance to COVID-19.

In the United Kingdom, Dr Chris Steele spoke with ITV on their This Morning show where he urged the UK to get more vitamin D. You can watch his video here

Satipharm Active capsules

Satipharm CBD Advanced Active capsules contain Satipharm’s patented CBD microbeads plus vitamins A, D, K and E. These vitamins have been specifically chosen to complement the CBD, for the effects they have on muscles, skin, bones and vision.

Importantly, each Active capsule contains 10ug or 200% of the Recommended Daily Allowance of vitamin D, which supports the functioning of the immune system. This ensures the body has adequate levels of vitamin D needed to produce the antimicrobial proteins that kill viruses and bacteria.

Vitamin D References