5 ways to get more vitamin D

20 April 2017 by
First published: 25 January 2017

Keep reading for 5 ways to get more vitamin D in your life.

Newsflash: the UK doesn’t get much sun. While you may think this is more of a problem for your tan, a vitamin D deficiency is one of its more dangerous side effects. You may not think much of it, but a vitamin D deficiency can lead to soft or fragile bones, muscle weakness, fatigue and depression, to name but a few.

Despite its name, vitamin D is actually a hormone and is crucial in absorbing calcium. With our lack of sunlight, propensity to constantly wear SPF and vitamin-D-lacking diet, most of us are – albeit mostly mildly – vitamin D deficient, with rickets (soft bones in children) and osteomalacia (fragile bones in adults) on the rise again. ‘Particularly during autumn and winter, the British Dietetic Association suggest that adults and children over the age of one should consider taking a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of Vitamin D in addition to their balanced diet,’ explains Alexis Poole, in-house nutritionist at Spoon Guru. ‘This comes from new findings that suggest individuals in England are not getting enough vitamin D due to lack of sun exposure.’

So what can we do? While the main source of vitamin D is the sun, there are other ways to get your recommended intake – and it’s easier than you might think.

Top up with supplements

Aside from sunlight, your best bet in reaching your vitamin D quota is through a supplement, advice now backed by the government. While we’re aware of having too little vitamin D, there’s also such thing as too much, which is why taking a specially formulated tablet will not only ensure you’re hitting your recommended intake, but will give you peace of mind, too.

Vitamin D3 Tablets, £18.49, Holland & Barrett

Get your diet in check

While the experts are quick to maintain that you can’t get your recommended intake of vitamin D from diet alone, there are certain foods that might help you on your way better than others. Oily fish, for example, is one of the highest sources of vitamin D, and you should be aiming for two to three portions per week. ‘Salmon and other fatty fish such as tuna, herring and mackerel contain the form of vitamin D that is most effective within the body,’ explains Alexis. Other good sources of the sunshine vitamin include mushrooms and egg yolk.

Try a face mask

Tracey Strudwick, nutritional therapist at Nuffield Health, claims you can get your vitamin D fix from a DIY face mask. ‘Vitamin D plays an integral role in skin protection and rejuvenation,’ she explains. ‘In its active form as calcitriol, vitamin D contributes to skin cell growth, repair and metabolism.’ But that’s not all that this face mask can do for you: egg yolk and yoghurt, while rich sources of the vitamin, also possess anti-inflammatory properties. Intrigued? All you’ll need is one egg yolk, two tablespoons of plain yoghurt and two tablespoons of ground oats (for mild exfoliation). Mix all the ingredients together, apply it to your face and rinse with lukewarm water after 15 minutes. Et voila!

Buy a SAD lamp

A vitamin D deficiency can result in depression and anxiety. No surprise, then, that the majority of those diagnosed as suffering from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) are also deficient in vitamin D. SAD lamps – or light boxes – offer artificial lighting reflective of daylight to help combat the feelings of the winter blues, but experts maintain the lamp has other uses. Using a SAD lamp in winter can also help synthesise vitamin D,’ explains GP Dr Sohère Roked. Sit or stand by your SAD lamp for 30 minutes for best results.

Finish with flax

You may already be topping your cereal, porridge or acai bowls with flaxseed for its nutritional qualities. Good news: don’t stop! You can now find flaxseed that has been blended with other ingredients to make it /even/ healthier. Take Linwoods Flaxseed with Bio Cultures and Vitamin D, for example, which promises an added boost of the hormone without you even realising. Just 30g of the seeds will provide you with 100 per cent of your recommended intake of vitamin D – that’s just two heaped dessert spoonfuls!
£5.79, linwoodshealthfoods.com