Vitamin D has been found to be beneficial to so many areas of the body and it has been suggested that a significant proportion of the population has a deficiency. I would give you a list of all the benefits of vitamin D though the research quality of a lot of findings varies hugely and I would not wish to misinform you. I have however, come to the conclusion that due to just how many areas this vitamin benefits it is not a question of “should I make sure I am getting enough vitamin D?”, it is a case of “why am I not taking it already?” I would put this vitamin up as one of, if not my most required, vitamins.
There are many vitamins/minerals that are recommended to be supplemented or included in a balanced diet. If you are starting to look at which ones to focus on supplementing, I would start with the most important and beneficial vitamins/minerals essential to your lifestyle and try to ensure you are getting these first. Make a priority list of the key ones for you depending on your lifestyle and environment and work to this.
I would consider Vitamin D as one of the most important supplements for someone from England in particular as we tend to have a lack of sunlight especially during the winter months, which has been put forward as one of the contributing factors as to why illness and depression peak at this time of year. Vitamin D’s role is generally considered to be the transfer of Calcium into and from the bloodstream. Though, it appears there may be more to this vitamin than first thought with more and more studies claiming it’s multiple health benefits. Due to an unwillingness to encourage overexposure to the sun there are no guidelines on how much sunlight you are recommended to have to ensure you get enough vitamin D. Though, if you have ever lived in England where, during the winter months, a number of the population begin their working day in darkness and finish it in the darkness so you can see how long term illnesses can develop.
Here is a chart with the recommended amounts of Vitamin D to be eaten/supplemented:
I myself take 1,000 IU (25µg) of the Vit D supplement each day, however, I also try to include it in my diet and for those of you who do not like taking pills, here are some vitamin D rich foods:
Note that 3,000 IU of Vitamin D3 can be absorbed from 5-10 minutes of sunlight depending on the environmental conditions. This appears achievable yet many people are still lacking in the recommended levels of this vitamin. You can get your vitamin D levels tested by asking your GP or by ordering an online testing kit if you wish. Weight up whether or not you could do with a top up of vitamin D as everyone is different, also make sure you stay within the recommended values otherwise toxicity can occur.