Nourish - What’s the Scoop On: Vitamin D | Part 2
Many people link Vitamin D deficiency to reduced outdoor activity and increased use of high-SPF sunscreen, and there’s a lot to agree with there.
Many of us are working in offices 9-5, maybe heading to the gym or workout class afterwards. Dinner has to be made, chores have to be done.
So what’s a health-conscious soul to do? Fear not, I’ve got you covered.
No. 1 – Move Your Indoor Routines Outside
Spending some time out in the sun is a great way to boost your D levels.
As we know, Vitamin D3 is produced when bare skin is exposed to UV rays. Therefore, we must factor in sunscreen use, skin tone and our geographic location, as this can all affect our vitamin D level.
Anywhere from 10-20 minutes without sunscreen two to three times a week is recommended to help maintain adequate levels.
And of course, one way to ensure that you’re getting enough sunlight is to make an effort to move your indoor routines outdoors in the warmer months.
- Swap out that treadmill run for a jog around your neighbourhood or local park
- Go for a walk on your lunch break
- Take weekend yoga classes in the park
- Grab your book and take a pew somewhere outside instead of in bed
- Eat your meals in the garden
- Go swimming in the ocean instead of the pool
- Hiking is a great way to get your sun and exercise in during the summer months. Wicklow mountains anyone?
No. 2 – Use Natural Sunscreen
Of course, during the summer months, we need to ensure we’re keeping ourselves protected from the sun, but we can be savvy about it.
If you cover up and slather on the sunscreen any and every time you’re out in the sun, you’re not going to give your body the chance to get its vitamin D.
As mentioned before, giving yourself even just the bare minimum of 5 minutes without any sunscreen will help you boost your levels, with 10-20 mins being optimal.
After that, you can give yourself a fine coating of sunscreen before heading out to enjoy the day.
Look for sunscreens that are made without parabens, phthalates, artificial perfumes, petrochemicals and colourants. Unfortunately, these are associated with hormone disruption and even liver and kidney damage. My personal favourites include Green People and Pai.
Have a look at my blog Foods to Naturally increase your Skins UV resistance here for more tips on staying protected in the sun.
No. 3 – Eat Vitamin D Rich Food
Consider adding more Vitamin D-rich foods to your diet when:
- the weather is being uncooperative
- your busy schedule is making it difficult to get outside
- it’s the winter season
Foods to incorporate include:
- fatty fish, including sardines, mackerel and salmo
- mushrooms (portobello, maitake, morel, button, and shiitake mushrooms are all high in vitamin D)
- fortified foods like tofu and plant-based milk alternatives
- red meat
- organ meats such as liver
- dairy such as ghee, goat and sheep yoghurt/milk/kefir
Do be aware, however, that although we rely on our diets to provide us with vitamin D in the winter months, in reality, this can be difficult to achieve. Therefore supplementation may still be needed. Which brings us on to our last point…
No. 4 – Vitamin D Supplementation
Since it’s difficult to get vitamin D exclusively through food, and most of us don’t spend enough time outside—supplementation is sometimes necessary.
Our best sellers include:
- Viridian Liquid D
- Nourish Liquid Vitamin D 1000IU 30ml
- Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega D3 60 Soft Gels
- Better You Dlux Vitamin D 3000 15ml
- Nordic Naturals Omega 3.6.9-D Liquid 237Ml
I advise you to retest every few months to ensure your levels are improving and don’t exceed the safe level. As with everything in the body, vitamin D levels should not be too high or too low, but just right.
I would also advise getting savvy on vitamin synergy.
When trying to boost your vitamin D levels up to where they should be, it’s advisable to include the other fat-soluble vitamins: A, E, and K2. These vitamins are also important and help balance out the vitamin D. This makes it more bioavailable and helps to prevent levels from getting too high.
A final note
There is no exact recommended amount for vitamin D yet as everyone requires different levels. These depend on their own bodies, skin tone, geographic location, exposure to the sun in the year etc.
If you think you’re at risk, ask your doctor to run a test to find out your levels.
Before taking any supplements you do want to know your levels. You can, as with everything, take too much. Equally, if you’re severely deficient, 400iu isn’t going to cut it. (For anyone who is pregnant or has a child under 1 year, your doctor can advise what’s right for you.)
Focusing on a well-balanced diet which includes these fat-soluble vitamins, and an abundance of all other vitamins and minerals will help to support your overall health. If that’s not enough for your Vitamin D levels as an individual, then supplements are certainly going to be a helping hand.
Here’s an interesting article by Ben Brown, Technical Director at Viridian Nutrition which I found an interesting read.
Any questions? Drop into your local Nourish store to chat with our expert team and explore our full range of foods, supplements and skincare. You can also find our full product range in our online store.
*Please note that while we are knowledgeable about our products and nutrition, this blog should never be a substitute for medical advice and attention.
Please remember that you should always obtain the all-clear from your doctor before starting any new supplement plan or diet if you’re on any medication.