The importance of vitamin D – and what you probably didn’t know yet

Gabrielle Koster

There aren’t a lot of countries where the sun is out most of the time. For me, that’s not the case at all. In winter, The Netherlands can be very drowsy and dark. And since D is one of the few vitamins that mostly comes from the sun touching our skin, lots of people suffer from a vitamin D deficiency – mostly without knowing.

The importance of vitamin D

And that’s a bad thing. Because did you know that vitamin D is essential for your skeleton? Forget milk (there are still people that think milk is good for your calcium production), D is essential to absorb calcium and promote bone growth. Vitamin D helps regulate the immune system and the neuromuscular system and it also plays major roles in the life cycle of human cells. If you’re interested in scientific reports about this vitamin, here you go. A highly needed vitamin, don’t you think?

Signs you’re having a vitamin D deficiency

It’s a good idea to have your vitamin levels tested, because symptoms aren’t always clear. But here are a few signs that you might be suffering from a vitamin D deficiency:

  • You feel sad and blue
  • Your bones hurt
  • You’re sweating a lot on your head
  • You have digestive difficulties
  • You have an auto-immune disease
  • You catch infections easily
  • You have weak muscles
  • You have skin diseases like eczema or psoriasis
  • You suffer from hair loss
  • You have night blindness

My experience with vitamin D

I have a long history of eczema and my skin was pretty awful during winter – it’s always worse in winter than in summer. When I went on a three-week holiday in February, my skin healed within three days of being outside in the sun. I started researching information about vitamin D and realized that my body could be benefitting from the enormous amount of sun I was getting because I was outside every day. When I came back in dark and cold Amsterdam, my skin started worsening so I started to take in 4000 iu of vitamin D on a daily base. Guess what? My skin actually started getting better.

Soaking up the sun

The dosage

Ten to thirty minutes of sun exposure to the face, legs, or back – without sunscreen – at least twice a week should give you plenty of vitamin D, according to WebMD. But hey, if you live in a country with seasons, that can be quite tough. So supplements can help as well. I always knew this particular vitamin was important, so I took my supplements regularly. What I didn’t know: the dosage of vitamin D supplements is usually quite low (around 300-400 iu), while it’s considered safe to take in 4.000 iu! Know that it’s always a good idea to have your vitamin levels tested before you start using supplements.

Vegan vitamin D

Most vitamin D supplements are made with fish oil, but there are also vegan supplements out there, made from lichen for example. Since I’ve been sharing my story about the vitamin D I keep getting questions which brands are good for vitamin D supplements. I’m a big fan of Viridian, since they make vegan vitamin D supplements (made from lichen), don’t use nasty additives, are animal test free, come in high dosages (2000 iu) ánd donate to charity with every purchase made.

Viridian vitamin D

Do you take vitamin D-supplements? If not, what is your trick to get enough of this vitamin?