Vitamin D—our 'sunshine' vitamin

By Monica van de Weerd

Vitamin D doesn’t support just one aspect of our wellbeing, it has key roles in regulating our immune system, sleep, mental health, gut health, bone density, and insulin sensitivity.

Adequate vitamin D supports the wellbeing and function of these crucial systems, and naturally, deficiency impairs them.

In a study, 84% of New Zealanders tested had either vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency. Many people are surprised to hear this—after all in New Zealand we get plenty of sun exposure and doesn't vitamin D come from the sun? While that is true, vitamin D is a little more illusive than you might think, here's why.

 

How much do we need?

For optimal levels of of vitamin D we ideally need 1000-2000IU daily (but no more than 4000IU). 

To put that in perspective that's a full 2 hours of peak sun exposure  or 1.7kg of beef liver or 5 tins of sardines or 30 eggs... that would be a very large omelette indeed!

 

How can we increase our vitamin D?

Spend Time (Safely) Outside

The sun is our main source of vitamin D which is synthesised when UVB rays generated by the sun hit our skin.

Unsurprisingly, summertime is when we make the most vitamin D as there are more hours of sunlight, and people tend to be outside more.

The best time to get outside and soak up the vitamin D is during summer between 11:00AM and 3:00PM.

However, your body can’t make vitamin D if you’re wearing sunscreen, so 20 minutes of sun exposure should be the maximum you aim for—as it’s important not to burn your skin. Soaking up vitamin D is great, but melanoma and heatstroke are not!

We recommend you spending 15-20 minutes with your face, arms and neck exposed outside before applying sunscreen each day during summer. Once you have done this, continue to practise sun safety;

  • Wear a hat, sunglasses and a long-sleeved cotton top if possible.
  • If you’re at the beach or park, opt for shaded spots.
  • Wear sunscreen after you’ve spent up to 20 minutes absorbing vitamin D.

Vit D from Food

There are many chances to get small amounts of vitamin D from a whole food diet. Unfortunately few foods contain high amounts of it. They’re also not necessarily the most popular of foods—beef livers, anyone? Cod liver oil, sardines? 

This, plus the amount you would need to eat to meet our daily requirements for optimal health, is more food than we would (or could!) probably eat! 

Supplementing Vitamin D

The most effective way to ensure that your vitamin D levels are taken care of, is to supplement. This is especially important throughout winter, autumn and even early spring when we have reduced sunshine hours and people spend more time rugged up and indoors.

When looking for a supplement, vitamin D3 is the most bioavailable form.

Because it’s an essential, everyday nutrient, we have included in our BePure One multivitamin formula—each daily dose contains 800IU.

BePure Three also contains 800IU of vitamin D. When taken together as recommended by Clinical Nutritionist, Ben Warren, the two of themsupport your vit D maintenance levels.

BePure Vit D Restore contains 1000IU in just one drop—that’s the equivalent of 30 eggs, 5 tins of sardines, or 2 hours of sun exposure. We recommend taking 1 x drop during spring and winter, and 2 x drops during winter to compensate for reduced time in the sun. Think of it as 'liquid sunshine' in a bottle!

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