vitamin D winter

How to get enough vitamin D in winter?


Fatigue and colds that get you during winter may be a sign of a lack of vitamin D! On top of that, lockdowns because of covid by stopping us from taking our daily sunbath... Do you want to learn a little more about vitamin D and how to cover your needs? Then this article is for you 😊


What is vitamin D?


Vitamin D is a micronutrient, it is necessary to our body but we only need it in very small quantities. This does not mean that its intake is negligible! Our body cannot produce it by its own, an extra intake is necessary through the diet and via exposure to the UV rays. In fact, vitamin D is the only vitamin provided by the sun! It is the UV rays that enable the skin to do the synthesis of vitamin D from a derivative of cholesterol (it is transformed in the liver and kidneys). Vitamin D is different from other micronutrients and is categorized as a prohormone rather than a real vitamin.


It is a fat-soluble vitamin (it is soluble in lipids), so it can be stored in the body fat (unlike water-soluble vitamins which are eliminated in the urine if consumption exceeds your needs). There are several sub-categories of vitamin D, the most known are vitamins D2 and D3. Vitamin D2 is present in vegetable food, and vitamin D3 is synthesized from the UV rays and is found mainly in food of animal origin.


The benefits of vitamin D


Why is vitamin D necessary for our body?


benefits vitamin d


Vitamin D is essential for our body; its main role is to increase the absorption of calcium and phosphorus in the gut. This vitamin will help in the mineralization of tissues (bones, teeth, and cartilage). But it has other benefits, especially in the regulation of hormones and the immune system, but also in the modification of skin cells (for good hydration).


Vitamin D deficiency


The recommended daily dose of vitamin D is 5 µg per day and its Upper Safety Limit (maximum dose for which there are no negative effects on the body) is 50 µg. It’s very common that people don’t get enough Vitamin D since only one out of four people in France would get the right vitamin D quantity. More than 7% of the population would have a deficiency in this vitamin which would be due to insufficient sun exposure (according to the Esteban study).


Symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency can be muscle and bone pain as well as significant fatigue and weakness. Repeated infections (e.g. bacteria or viruses) can also occur since vitamin D strengthens the immune system. A long-term deficiency can be responsible for bone decalcification for adults and rickets for children.


The fundamental nature of vitamin D is therefore not to be discussed! In addition to that, having a sufficient intake will help you to be in the best of shape!


Meeting your vitamin D needs


vitamin d need


Vitamin D is very important for our bodies, yet many people do not get enough of it. Here are the 3 sources that will help you to meet your needs to be in perfect health!


The sun helps you get a large part of the Vitamin D you need.


As we have seen previously, the majority of our vitamin D needs are provided by exposure to the sun (80% of our needs). The synthesis of vitamin D is effective from an exposure of 15 to 20 minutes per day.


But sometimes there is not enough sunshine, like in winter (from October to March, UV rays are insufficient to cover our needs). Or in some northern countries or in situations such as lockdowns (leaving the house is not possible). The vitamin D reserves contained in the fatty tissue after strong sunlight are not always sufficient to make up for the lack. To solve this issue, it is necessary to go for supplementation.


A balanced diet to avoid deficiencies


If daily sunshine is not possible or not sufficient to meet our needs in vitamin D, increasing its quantity with the diet is a way to compensate!


The foods that are full of vitamin D are mostly of animal origin (vitamin D3) and can be seen in the table below:



Vitamin D quantity per 100g of food

Cod liver oil

250 µg

Horse mackerel

48,5 µg

Smoked herring

22 µg


21.2 µg


16 µg


14 µg

Egg yolk

11.4 µg


8.7 µg

White cheese

4 µg


1.5 µg


Food supplements, an interesting alternative


vitamin d supplement


If you are exposed to low sunlight during long periods of the year or if your diet does not provide what you need, food supplements can be a good alternative!


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