Vitamin D is an essential nutrient vital for bone strength, as well as boosting serotonin levels. However, in the winter months, it can be harder to come by this naturally occurring vitamin, due to the lack of sunlight.
Dr Ross Perry GP and medical director of Cosmedics UK told Express.co.uk: “The main source of vitamin D is the sun. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to lack of energy and fatigue, so it’s only natural that getting your daily dose via the sun’s natural exposure it will boost energy levels.
“We get most of our vitamin D from sunlight exposure from around late March and early April to the end of September with simple exposure of arms and legs two to three times a week for 15 to 20 minutes.
“However in winter, the UK sunlight doesn’t contain enough UVB radiation for our skin to be able to make enough vitamin D.”
A lack of vitamin D can cause some health implications long term.
In fact, according to Beverley Richards, nutritional therapist at Optibac Probiotics, vitamin D deficiencies are “very common”.
She told Express.co.uk: “It is estimated that about one billion people worldwide do not get enough of this vitamin.”
Ms Richards added: “Vitamin D is essential for muscle, bone and immune health and so some of the symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency are: lowered immunity and thus getting sick more often, tiredness and fatigue, back and bone pain, low mood, slow wound healing, bone and hair loss, as well as muscle pain.”
With the winter months fast approaching, the golden sunshine of summer will be in short supply.
Luckily, according to the experts, there are some easy ways to incorporate alternative sources of vitamin D into your daily routine.
How to get more vitamin D into your diet during the winter.
One of the best ways to boost your vitamin D intake is through your diet.
Though fish and red meat are two widely known sources of vitamin D, the experts point out there are some lesser-known items that can boost your nutrient levels.
In fact, according to both experts, this can be done with a simple glass of orange juice at breakfast.
However, it is important to make sure the orange juice is fortified.
One cup, measuring roughly 237ml, of fortified orange juice with breakfast can start your day off with up to 100 IU of vitamin D, or 12 percent of the recommended daily value.
Fortified food and drinks, such as orange juice, have additional nutrients added to them and are designed as an easy way to help increase the recommended daily value of vital vitamins.
Ms Richards said: “You can also find good sources in fortified foods, like fortified breads, cereals and orange juice.”
Dr Perry pointed out that some yoghurts are also fortified to include more vitamin D.
He added that “oily fish such as salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel, red meat, liver, egg yolks” are other great sources of naturally occurring vitamin D.
Alternative ways to boost vitamin D during the winter.
Dr Perry explained that vitamin D does not always have to come from food.
For those who are particularly in need of the nutrient, he recommends adding supplements into your daily routine.
He explained: “A vitamin D supplement can help with the regulation of insulin flow and balance blood sugar, allowing the body’s natural hormone cycles to function more effectively.”
When opting for supplements, it is important to understand how much you are taking.
Ms Richards said: “Make sure your supplement is of the D3, not D2 variety as this is the biologically active form of vitamin D that is more easily absorbed by our bodies.”Internet Explorer Channel Network