As a supplier of dietary supplements including vitamin D, we are often asked by customers how best to quickly elevate blood vitamin D levels.
It is not such a strange question. After all, everyone should make a conscious effort to ensure an optimal intake of vitamin D, whether via sunshine, food, supplements or a combination of all three. And research suggests many of us fail to get enough.
The evidence for vitamin D is overwhelming: not only does the Sunshine vitamin aid immune health, bone and muscle function, teeth and cell integrity and wound healing, but it also appears to help protect against depression and cognitive decline.
Those who suspect they may be deficient – even seriously deficient – will naturally wonder how they can quickly increase their vitamin D levels. We intend to tell you how.
1. Get More Sun
Sounds simple, right? But getting more sun on your face requires conscious effort. In the UK, we don’t get a lot of sun during autumn and winter (and sometimes in spring and summer, for that matter) and when it does appear in the sky it can be rather weak, its heat blunted by the chill in the air.
Still, taking that brisk walk in the cold will ensure you at least get a little vitamin D, providing you walk in direct sunlight.
Of course, it’s a tricky one, because the temperature will likely mean your arms and legs are covered up. In other words, only your face and neck (or just your face if you’re wearing a scarf!) will be exposed to the sunlight, thus causing your skin to produce that much-needed cholecalciferol.
Taking a holiday in a warmer climate, even during summer, will ensure adequate vitamin D reserves in the body through much of autumn and winter – although a supplement may still be necessary to keep you in the healthy range.
Vacationing somewhere hot in October, November or December is a great idea. Just remember to heed Tip #2.
2. Don’t Overuse Sunblock
In the words of John Sottery, a leading sunscreen researcher, “sunscreen products acts like a very thin bulletproof vest, stopping the UV photons before they can reach the skin and inflict damage.”
However, gross fears about skin cancer have caused many of us to obsessively overuse and over-apply sunscreen when we’re in contact with the sun, negatively impacting our vitamin D production.
The human body evolved under sunlight, and it’s no accident that human skin manufactures great amounts of protective vitamin D when we expose ourselves to the light.
Don’t overthink your sunscreen use: apply when necessary, don’t let your skin burn or become damaged, but don’t hide from the sun or cover yourself up completely either. Sit in the open unprotected for 15-20 minutes, or 30 minutes if you have darker skin, and you’ll ensure favourable vitamin D production.
According to a 2017 study conducted by researchers at the Solar Radiation Group, part of the Polytechnic University of Valencia, humans can produce 1,000 IU of vitamin D in just 10 minutes during summer months, with only 25% of the body exposed. In autumn it takes 30 minutes and in winter, 130 minutes.
Bearing in mind, of course, that the test was conducted in Spain. Spanish autumns and winters are less harsh than Britain’s!
3. Eat Vitamin D-rich Foods
Food is a notoriously poor source of vitamin D. That being said, that are a few decent sources which will gradually help you up your intake. OK, you can’t get vitamin D levels up fast from food alone, it’s more of a gradual process, but it will contribute to the wider picture.
The richest dietary sources of vitamin D include fatty fish like salmon (also a great source of heart-protective omega-3s!), egg yolk from grass-raised chickens, fortified milk and cereal, mushrooms, organ meats like beef liver, and ghee.
To gain maximum benefit from your vitamin D, of course, it’s helpful to eat nutritional co-factors like magnesium and vitamin K. Incidentally, we’ve written a detailed blog about the relationship between magnesium and vitamin D that you might like to check out.
4. Consider Intravenous Vitamin D
Although it can be expensive, intravenous vitamin D therapy is very fast-acting and is a great way of quickly getting vitamin D levels up. It is probably a worthwhile option if you are seriously deficient, and indeed it is the method favoured by practitioners in emergency situations.
Vitamin D shots don’t appeal to everyone, and in truth the vast majority would be better served following another of these methods (or a combination of several). Shots are typically administered after a full review of your medical history and a comprehensive analysis of your vitamin D blood levels.
5. Use a Supplement
Vitamin D supplements are recommended for all Brits during autumn and winter. Depending on your climate, you may consider doing the same. According to a 2017 study by the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, around 1 billion individuals worldwide – nearly 15% of the planet’s population – are either vitamin D deficient or insufficient.
Oh, and don’t worry about vitamin D supplement side effects. As explained in our blog, they tend to be grossly overstated, and are associated with the kind of mega doses no oral supplement can provide.
As far as supplementation is concerned, we recommend Frunutta’s sublingual Vitamin D3, which comes in two strengths: 1,000 IU and 5,000 IU.
Because these micro tablets dissolve under the tongue instead of being swallowed and thus following the well-worn path through the digestive system (where they must survive the inhospitable conditions of the stomach), they are a great way to swiftly increase your intake.
Frunutta’s supplements also come without the fillers, preservatives, additives, excipients and dyes common in other vitamin supplements. It’s one reason why the tablets are a lot smaller than you might be used to!
Boosting your intake of vitamin D is a great idea. Hypervitaminosis D – or vitamin D toxicity – is incredibly rare, and tends to occur only in those who obsessively use tanning beds and/or take gargantuan daily doses of vitamin D.
Some prescription drugs, including those made to treat high blood pressure, can also cause elevated vitamin D levels in the blood.
For most people, though, increasing vitamin D will bring serious benefits to your health – whether you know about them or not. The nutrient reinforces the immune system and helps you avoid symptoms of vitamin D deficiency, which range from depression, fatigue and weight gain to bone pain, flu and insomnia.
If you’re interested in learning more about vitamin D, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. We’re always happy to discuss individual requirements and make recommendations.
To gain maximum benefit from your vitamin D, it’s helpful to eat nutritional co-factors like magnesium and vitamin K.