Weak muscles? Funny gut? Frequent headaches and chronic pain? Moody? Sweaty? What could initially appear to be signs of lack of sleep, or something as mundane as a busy working week could in fact be your body telling you that you’re deprived of the vital vitamin D!
It’s no secret that the UK population is significantly lacking in vitamin D, largely due to the fact that the sun shines in this country about as often as a bus runs on time (if we’re lucky!) A recent survey* commissioned by Vega Vitamins revealed that a shocking 79% of UK adults don’t take a vitamin D supplement, despite almost half of us expressing concern that they are deficient in the sunshine vitamin.
Even during those intermittent heat waves or when you’re holidaying somewhere along the equator, there’s the somewhat conflicting affirmation of dousing your body with copious amounts of SPF 15, which ultimately blocks 93% of UVB rays – the type our bodies use to make vitamin D.
However, there are ways in which you can easily and efficiently dose up on your daily requirement of vitamin D. We have asked our experts to share their secrets with us:
1. Find your sunshine in the fridge
Although it’s proven very difficult to intake the recommended daily allowance through food primarily, make sure you stock these foods in your fridge to top up your vitamin D levels:
Fatty fish – according to the Institute of Medicine,** 600IU of vitamin D is equivalent to their RDA and a 3-ounce portion of salmon fillet contains approximately 450.
Like humans, mushrooms have the ability to produce vitamin D when exposed to UV light. However, the conventional mushroom will often be produced in dark environments, as they don’t require sunlight to grow. The United States have been producing these ultraviolet light grown ‘shrooms’ for a while now, but the UK have also caught onto this trick with M&S being one of the main chain of supermarkets to sell vitamin D fortified mushrooms.
2. Be SUP-er smart
Unfortunately, it’s really hard to get enough vitamin D from your food only. Nutritionist Shona Wilkinson explains why it’s also a smart idea to add a supplement to your diet: “Our main source of vitamin D is the action of sunlight on our bare skin. Vitamin D is also found in some foods, namely oily fish such as salmon and eggs. But these amounts are small compared to what our body needs.”
A supplement like VEGA EveryDay-D (RRP £5.95 www.vegavitamins.co.uk)*** contains 400IU per chewable tablet, which is equivalent to one hour’s exposure of face, neck and arms of sunshine!
3. Spray on the sun
Not the biggest fan of popping pills? Another surefire way to ensure that you are absorbing your dose of vitamin D as best you can is by using a daily spray. Dr Luis Vitetta, Adjunct Professor at the University of Sydney Medical School and Director of Medical Research at Medlab Clinical explains that “the Vega oral spray is hyper-absorbable and that vitamin D appears in the bloodstream in less than four minutes, and maybe even as quick as one minute after application.” One spray of VEGA EveryDay-D Vitamin D3 Spray (RRP £5.95) provides the equivalent of one hour of sunshine in each spray.
4. Go full fat
Although it’s been grilled into our minds for many years that opting for semi/skimmed dairy is the better health option, there are actually benefits for going full fat! Nutritionist Cassandra Barns says, “The fat can help us absorb vitamins – such as vitamin A and D – that are found in, or added to milk. These vitamins are fat soluble, so when there are only very small levels of fat in what we are eating, they won’t be absorbed as well as they can be when consumer with higher-fat foods.”
** Vega Vitamins Consumer Survey, October 2016, 2,005 people surveyed from across the UK