20% off €35 on vitamins & supplements
20% off €35 on vitamins & supplements
If you don’t like being in the sun, are strict with your SPF routine, tend to cover up with clothes, have darker skin, or all of the above (!), you are at a higher risk of low vitamin D or vitamin D deficiency.
What’s more, the government advises everyone to take a vitamin D supplement in the autumn and winter months, as we naturally are exposed to less sunlight.
Although some foods are rich in vitamin D, like oily fish, our bodies only roughly absorb 10% of vitamin D from this source. The other 90% is made in our bodies, and this process requires sun exposure.1
Common symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include low mood, weak muscles and getting sick a lot. Stick with us to learn more about vitamin D and our health, how to test your vitamin D levels and why it is so important.
Your bones really don’t like it! You may have already heard about the link between rickets and vitamin D in children (osteomalacia in adults).
Low levels of vitamin D can be difficult to spot until it’s too late and you are dangerously lacking; yet around 1 in 5 people in the UK have low vitamin D levels according to national surveys.2
Your body needs vitamin D for the following functions:3
When your body is low in vitamin D, it can show in a variety of ways, including:4
Handpicked content: What is vitamin D and why is it so important?
Generally, a lack of sunlight absorption is to blame for vitamin D deficiency.
Although many people tend to get enough vitamin D from sunlight and vitamin-D rich foods in the spring and summer months, there are some groups of people who are at risk of vitamin D deficiency, like:4
Babies who are breastfed are usually recommended a vitamin D supplement as parents are advised to keep them out of direct sunlight – especially with no sun protection on!
Babies fed an infant formula (more than 1000ml a day) are already covered though, as the formulas will contain vitamin D already.
Older adults have a higher risk of developing low vitamin D supplements as our bodies ability to make vitamin D decline with age, and they tend to spend more time indoors and eat less nutritious food.
Groups of people who are likely to experience limited sun exposure include:
The body can’t make vitamin D without sunshine, so these groups of people may not make enough to sustain healthy levels.
The darker your skin is, the more melanin it contains, which reduces the skin’s ability to produce vitamin D from sunlight.
They have to have more sun exposure than light-skinned people to produce the same amount of vitamin D.
Your symptoms will be taken into consideration and your doctor will likely order you a vitamin D deficiency test (blood test) to explore any suspicions.
The most common vitamin D blood test is called the 25-hydroxyvitamin D, also known as 25- (OH)D.
This tests for the most circulated form of vitamin D, and is currently considered the best indicator of vitamin D supply to the body.
You should consider checking your vitamin D levels if you have been experiencing some of the symptoms and/or you are in one of the at-risk groups.
Thanks to modern technology, going to the GP isn’t your only option if you want to test your vitamin D levels, you can now do a vitamin D test at home.
We’ll explain the benefits of both options below.
It’s only natural at this point to ask why you would want to test your vitamin D levels at home when you can go and get one free from your GP?
Benefits of home vitamin D diagnostics kits can include:
However, it is important to keep in mind that these sorts of tests are no substitute for seeing your doctor, especially if you are suffering symptoms, as these companies will not be able to diagnose, consult or provide any treatment.
But, if you just want to know for peace of mind or if you should be upping the vitamin D in your life, they can provide very useful.
It depends on the brand, but generally a home vitamin D level test will work a little like this:
If you go with a reputable home blood test brand that sends out good testing kit, clear instructions, and uses accredited laboratories to test your blood samples, and details/communicates your results clearly, then yes, they should work.
Obviously, you have to take ownership of following instructions correctly and completing ‘your part’ at home, as this is the most important bit to get right!
As we touched on above, the most important things you need to consider when choosing an at-home testing kit for vitamin B12 include:
Here are a few tips on how to get the best results from any home blood test kit:8
If you would like to check your vitamin D levels at home, this at home vitamin D test kit by Medichecks could be for you!
If you do discover you have a vitamin D deficiency or low amounts in your body, you should always seek the advice of your GP, who can help you get to the root of the cause and advise treatment.
Vitamin D supplements are widely available if you worry that your diet or other lifestyle factors may eventually lead to depleted vitamin D levels.
Most multivitamins contain vitamin D too, and it doesn’t hurt to pre-empt any potential vitamin D issues by supplementing, especially if you don’t eat many Vitamin D-rich foods.
The UK government recommends that breastfeeding babies (baby formula already contains vitamin D) all the way up to 5 year old children should be given a vitamin D supplement: 8.5-10mcg for under 1 year old and 10mcg for the rest.5
Children aged 5 years + and adults (including pregnant and breastfeeding people) should also consider taking a vitamin D supplement during the autumn and winter months.
You can also easily increase the vitamin D in your body by eating some or all of the following:
Last updated: 20 January 2022
Joined Holland & Barrett: April 2019
Masters Degree in Toxicology and BSc Hons in Medical Biochemistry