Are you getting enough vitamin D? Take this quick quiz to claim 10% off with Vitl.
Vitamin D doesn’t just keep your teeth, bones and muscles healthy – it may also help boost your immune system. This is especially important in autumn and winter, to help you fight off illnesses such as cold and flu.
Take this quick quiz to find out if you’re getting enough of the ‘sunshine vitamin’ to maintain normal immune function in these darker months.
Do you take a vitamin D supplement every day?
It’s usually recommended that adults have 10 micrograms of vitamin D a day. Your body creates vitamin D from direct sunlight on your skin and can also absorb it from some foods, but it may be difficult to get enough from these 2 sources alone. This is especially true in the autumn and winter months when you get less sunlight. You may want to take a daily supplement to help boost your levels during these darker months.
Do you eat plenty of good sources of vitamin D like oily fish, red meat, liver, egg yolks and fortified foods?
As well as creating vitamin D from direct sunlight, your body can absorb it from foods that contain it. Oily fish (such as salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel), red meat, liver, egg yolks and fortified foods (like most margarines and breakfast cereals) are all great sources that can help boost your vitamin D levels.
Do you spend time outdoors on a regular basis?
It’s not known exactly how long you need to be in the sun for your body to make enough vitamin D for its needs. But for most, short periods in the sun (as little as 10 minutes if you have light skin and at least 30 minutes if you're dark skinned) with your arms, hands or lower legs uncovered – and without sunblock – should be enough.
When spending time outside, do you wear SPF?
Your body can only produce vitamin D from sunlight when your skin is uncovered and not protected by sunscreen. Just remember this needs to be only for a short amount of time – always be careful and cover up or apply sunscreen before your skin starts to turn red or burn. If you get sunburnt just once every 2 years, this can triple your risk of melanoma skin cancer.
Do you have a darker skin tone?
If you have darker skin – for example, you have an African, African-Caribbean or south Asian background – you’ll need to spend more time in the sun to produce the same amount of vitamin D as those with lighter skin. If you have darker skin, you have higher levels of the pigment melanin, which reduces your skin’s ability to produce vitamin D from sunlight.
Are you over the age of 50?
Your skin’s ability to convert sunlight into vitamin D decreases as you age, especially after age 50. To make sure you don’t become deficient in vitamin D, spend more time outdoors in the sun and eat more vitamin D-rich foods. A vitamin D supplement will also help to keep your levels up, but discuss this with a doctor first.
Would you describe yourself as being a healthy weight?
Being overweight with a body mass index (BMI) that’s over 30 means you may have lower vitamin D levels. Fat cells act as a blocker for the release of vitamin D, making deficiency much more likely if you’re overweight. Losing weight and taking a vitamin D supplement will help you reach and maintain good vitamin D levels. Talk to a doctor for guidance.
Do you ever get signs of low vitamin D levels, like feeling tired, aching bones and feeling depressed?
Low vitamin D levels don’t usually cause obvious symptoms in adults. But signs to look out for include fatigue, sore bones, weak, aching or cramping muscles and mood changes like depression. If you have any of these symptoms, speak to a doctor.
Have you been diagnosed with a medical condition, such as Crohn’s disease, coeliac disease or liver or kidney disease?
Some medical conditions, like Crohn’s disease, coeliac disease, cystic fibrosis and some types of liver and kidney disease can affect how vitamin D is used and absorbed by the body. This can lead to low levels of vitamin D. Speak to a doctor for advice if you have any medical conditions.
Do you regularly take laxatives, steroids or medicines to lower cholesterol, prevent fits, treat tuberculosis (TB) or encourage weight loss?
Some medications can affect your vitamin D levels and lead to a deficiency. Those mentioned above are some of the most common medications that can lower your vitamin D levels. But before taking a supplement, make sure you talk to a doctor about any medications you’re on.
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Boost your vitamin D this autumn and winter with Vitl’s daily supplements for just £5.95 for a pack of 30 Softgels*. Use code HEALTHILY10 for 10% off. Talk to your doctor if you’re concerned you may have very low vitamin D levels.
*10 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin D per day is usually enough for most people. You shouldn’t take more than 100 mcg as this could be harmful. Each Vitl Softgel contains 25 mcg of vitamin D so may be taken once a day or every few days during the winter months. Talk to your doctor if you’re considering taking them for longer periods.