Although called a vitamin, vitamin D is actually a hormone which is activated by sunshine on your skin. Vitamin D controls absorption of calcium and phosphate by the body and is vital for keeping your bones and teeth healthy. That’s why it is particularly important for pregnant women, breast-fed babies and children under 5 to produce enough vitamin D.
However, it is thought that vitamin D also plays an important role in immune function, as well as in many chronic diseases and mental health.
Many people in the UK do not produce enough Vitamin D, especially in the winter months with fewer daylight hours. It is now recommended that you get 10-15 minutes of unprotected sun exposure every day to ensure you are producing enough vitamin D. However, if you’re over 65, have dark skin or suffer from inflammatory bowel disease or other fat malabsorption conditions you may be more prone to vitamin D deficiency.
In winter months, if your levels are found to be low, you may wish to take a supplement. Public Health England recommend that adults take a supplement of 10mcg of vitamin D during the winter months (October to March).
This test checks the level of Vitamin D in your blood