Megan Bull




According to the NHS, from late March to the end of September, most people should be able to get all the vitamin D they need from sunlight alone, but with temperatures set to drop and autumn just around the corner, it’s time to think about incorporating vitamin D into your daily diet. From the best foods and supplements to government guidelines, we’ve created a complete guide to vitamin D. 

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vitamin-d

What does vitamin D do?

Extremely beneficial, vitamin D helps to regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body, providing you with the much-needed nutrients to keep your bones, teeth, and muscles healthy. 

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Best vitamin D supplements? 

holland-barrett

These vegetarian vitamin D3 Capsules contain 400IU of Vitamin D per softgel capsule. 

Vegetarian vitamin D3 100 capsules, £4.99, Holland & Barrett 

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amazon-vitamins

For your convenience, each bottle includes 365 softgels, so you’ll have a full year’s supply of vitamin D. 

Maximum strength vitamin D3 supplements (365 softgels), £10.99, Amazon

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childrens-vitamins

These Vitamin D3 soft gummies are perfect for your little ones. Ideal for children ages 3+, they’re strawberry and vanilla flavour. 

Healthy kids vitamin D3 30 chewy softies, £2.84, Holland & Barrett 

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boots-vitamins

These high strength supplements are suitable for adults and children 12 years and over. 

High strength vitamin D 25 µg 180 tablets, £9, Boots

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How to get vitamin D?

The body creates vitamin D from direct sunlight, but during the winter months, the best ways to get vitamin D are through certain foods or supplements. 

Which foods contain vitamin D? 

vitamin-d-foods

Vitamin D can be found in a number of foods, including:

  • Oily fish – e.g. salmon, sardines, herring, canned tuna and mackerel.
  • Red meat
  • Mushrooms
  • Liver
  • Egg yolks
  • Fortified foods – orange juice, soy milk, certain cereals and oatmeal.

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How much vitamin D per day?

The NHS advises that 10 micrograms a day should be enough for most people. 

Surprisingly, it is possible to have too much vitamin D:

Adults, including pregnant and breastfeeding women and the elderly, as well as children aged 11 to 17 years, should never take more than 100 micrograms (4,000 IU) of vitamin D a day as it could be harmful. 

As for children, ages 1 to 10 years should not have more than 50 micrograms (2,000 IU) a day. Meanwhile, infants under 12 months should not have more than 25 micrograms (1,000 IU) a day.

Some people have medical conditions that mean they may not be able to safely take as much vitamin D, in which case they should make sure to consult a doctor. 

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What is the difference between vitamin D and vitamin D3?

Vitamin D is actually made up of several different forms, the most important of which are D2 and D3

Vitamin D2 is produced by plants while vitamin D3 is made by your skin when you get enough sunlight, and it can also be found in animal products

Studies have shown that D3 is more important for the body than D2. To maintain healthy levels of this form, it is advised to incorporate certain animal products into your daily diet.  Extremely problematic for vegetarians and vegans, anyone consuming a plant-based diet can instead opt for supplements containing D3. 

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Ultimate vitamin D guide: The best supplements, foods and health benefits

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