Vitamin D: Everything You Need To Know

Vitamin D: Everything You Need To Know

Vitamin D deficiency is such a widespread problem that it’s recommended we all take a supplement during autumn and winter months. At our clinic, we regularly test our client’s nutrient levels and we commonly find our new clients to be deficient. So why is vitamin D important? How can you tell if your levels are low? And what’s the best way to get enough? Here’s everything you need to know about the sunshine vitamin.


Vitamin D is vital for good health. It regulates calcium and therefore is essential for strong and healthy bones and teeth. It’s necessary for healthy functioning immune and cardiovascular systems and for healthy cognitive function to name just a few.


The majority of our Vitamin D is produced by our skin when it’s exposed to sunlight so it’s recommended that we get outside daily exposing our skin to the sun in order to promote production. It is also worth eating foods that provide the vitamin too, despite food contributing less to our intake. For many of us though, sunshine and vitamin D rich foods may still not be enough to maintain optimal blood levels. Due to our increasingly indoor lifestyles (particularly so right now) and unpredictable UK weather, this puts many of us at risk from deficiency. Therefore, it’s wise to take a supplement.


For a long time we have been aware of the impact of severe Vitamin D deficiency which manifests as rickets. A disease of the 19th Century, rickets was virtually eradicated half a century ago, however, there has been a re-emergence of the disease in recent years.  Aside from rickets, evidence links deficiency to a wide range of different health concerns. These include autoimmune diseases, cancer, cardiovascular disease, depression, dementia, infectious diseases, musculoskeletal decline, and more.

Read more: Vitamin D Supplements Could Prevent Millions Of Colds


There are many common health symptoms associated with deficiency. These include:

  • Suffering with frequent coughs and colds
  • Tiredness / fatigue
  • Low mood / depression
  • Lower back pain, muscle weakness and / or throbbing bone pain.

However it’s common to have suboptimal levels of the vitamin and experience no symptoms at all. Low levels are such a big problem that the government now recommends that everyone should take a supplement during autumn and winter, with at risk groups supplementing all year round.


During the pandemic, you may have heard about links between vitamin D deficiency and Covid-19 complications in the news. According to research, patients who had sufficient levels of the vitamin were 51% less likely to experience complications that resulted in death from coronavirus.

Scientists at Boston University’s school of medicine found that vitamin D was linked to higher levels of immune cells in the blood and lower inflammatory markers. This resulted in fewer ‘cytokine storms’, a potentially deadly overreaction of the immune system sparked by coronavirus.

Blood samples were taken from 235 patients hospitalised with Covid-19 and it was found that in patients older than 40, those who had sufficient levels of vitamin D were more than 51% less likely to die than patients who were deficiency.


Yes, it is possible to test your Vitamin D levels. You can purchase an affordable at home test kit online for just over £30. We recommend this quick and easy test from City Assays. It’s a simple finger prick blood test – you post your sample to their lab and receive your results via email. Testing can help you identify whether you need to be dosing to correct a deficiency, or to maintain an optimal level.


As with many health markers, when it comes to vitamin D there is a difference between levels widely deemed ‘adequate’ and levels that are understood to be ‘optimal’. We aim for optimal. You can refer to this chart from the Nutritional Medicine Journal which deems ‘sufficient’ levels to be 75-150 mol/l (or 21-29 ng/ml).

A review of evidence into vitamin D status in relation to a variety of health outcomes concluded that: for all endpoints, the most advantageous serum concentrations of vitamin D begin at 75 nmol/L (30 ng/mL), and the best are between 90 and 100 nmol/L (36-40 ng/mL). These are the levels you should be looking to achieve.


The darker a person’s skin type, the lower their ability to synthesise Vitamin D. People whose skin type have adapted to prevent excess synthesis in their native, sunny environment are particularly prone to deficiency when living in a sun-deprived country such as the UK. Our client list comprises a diverse ethnic background. Our South Asian clients with darker skin are commonly deficient. Muslim women who cover themselves for religious reasons are also often found to be Vitamin D deficient.  That said, we also see plenty of Caucasian clients with low, or borderline levels of the vitamin. Most of us spend a significant proportion of our time indoors meaning that regardless of skin type, anyone can be affected.


While it’s advised we wear SPF to protect ourselves from skin cancer and ageing, by blocking out the sun’s rays we are also blocking our skin’s ability to produce the sunshine vitamin. Exposure to UVB rays provides more than 90% of our vitamin D production but research has shown that wearing a sunscreen with an SPF as low as eight reduces the skin’s production by an incredible 95%. This is not to say you should stop wearing SPF.


Unfortunately, there are few good quality, natural food sources. Oily fish, such as wild salmon, sardines and mackerel and eggs, provide the vitamin. Otherwise, most other food sources come in the form of highly processed fortified foods such as margarines and breakfast cereals, which we don’t recommend regularly including in the diet. As most of us don’t get enough sun to produce optimal vitamin D, and that few good food sources are available, you’ll likely need to take a supplement to achieve and maintain optimal levels.


Once you know your level you can identify the optimal dosing strategy. This article from the Vitamin D Council gives a detailed breakdown of how to dose based on your results. (Bear in mind that this uses ng/ml but nmol/ml is the more common unit of measurement used in the UK so you may need to use a conversion calculator.)

Alternatively, you can use the simpler NICE guidelines for correcting deficiency. Several loading dose regimens are possible, including:

If you have low levels, you’ll need a loading dose to correct this. To correct deficiency, NICE advise aiming to consume around 300,000 IU over a period of six weeks, which can be supplemented as:

  • 50,000 IU once a week for 6 weeks (300,000 IU in total)
  • 20,000 IU twice a week for 7 weeks (280,000 IU in total)
  • or 4000 IU daily for 10 weeks (280,000 IU in total)

We recommend Love Life Supplements Vitamin D3 with K2 Vital. Based on the above we advise two capsules per day (6000IU total) for eight weeks then we retest.

Once you’ve completed one of the above dosing regimes, it’s worth retesting to ensure you’ve achieved an optimal level and then continuing on a lower maintenance dose. 400 IU is the minimum recommended during autumn and winter months, however many of us could benefit from a higher maintenance dose. Many health care providers have increased their recommendations for supplementation to at least 1000 IU.


We recommend Love Life Supplements Vitamin D3 with K2 Vital for three reasons. Firstly, it’s important to supplement D alongside K2 as K2 is required for optimal absorption. Secondly, this supplement combines D3 and K2 with MCT oil as healthy fats also support the absorption of fat soluble vitamins like D and K. Finally, this high quality brand goes to extensive lengths to avoid the binders and fillers often found in lower quality supplements. We know from clinical experience that this supplement effectively increases blood levels this vital vitamin.


  • Ideally, get a test and establish your current vitamin D level. You can ask your GP or arrange an at home test from City Assays.
  • Get daily sun exposure. Exposure to daylight is important for many aspects of health. If applying sunscreen to the face, expose your arms (but of course – at a level that doesn’t cause redness or burning).
  • Eat organic eggs and wild oily fish. They provide vitamin D as well as protein and a number of other essential nutrients.
  • Take a quality supplement at a dose to suit your needs.

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If you’re looking to optimise your health, lose weight and / or develop better nutrition and lifestyle habits, we can help. We are a team of qualified, experienced nutritionists who specialise in weight loss. Schedule a complimentary 25-minute calll today to find out how we can help you achieve your goals.



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Sarah has worked with hundreds of clients over the past decade to help them live in a healthy body that they feel confident in.

Sarah spent a large part of her teens and 20’s as a professional dancer battling with orthorexia and an unhealthy relationship with food and her body. This created a desire to understand the human body more so she could finally cut through the confusion and end the cycle of yoyo dieting. This fuelled her passion to help other women do the same.


Sarah specialises in supporting women who are struggling to lose weight due to underlying health issues. She’s helped many women manage their weight during and after the menopause, as well as clients with thyroid disease and immune system dysfunction. Sarah loves food and sharing healthy recipes with her clients. Her aim is to ensure that clients don’t feel deprived and instead, achieve their weight loss and health goals in a positive and sustainable way.


To enquire about working with Sarah, please contact us.



Ailsa is one of our most experienced practitioners. She specialises in helping clients to lose weight, develop a healthy relationship with food and finally feel comfortable in their skin. Ailsa’s mission is for everyone she works with to enjoy the journey and that working with a nutritionist should not be a punishment, but your access to a new possibility.


Ailsa is not only an experienced weight loss nutritionist, she is also a skilled coach. She helps our clients overcome emotional eating, destructive habits and self-sabotaging behaviours that have prevented successful weight loss in the past. Ailsa has spent years in clinic working with clients who have experienced yo-yo dieting and have discovered that long term weight loss is not just about eating less until you can stand it no longer.


Working with Ailsa you will be comprehensively supported, not only in improving your nutrition and lifestyle, but also your eating habits and your relationship with food. When you work on all these elements together, the results can be truly astonishing.


To enquire about working with Ailsa, please contact us.

Test Nikki is our Practice Manager, managing our team of practitioners and heading up the day-to-day running of the business. Nikki is involved in the strategic development of our practice, coming from a strong business background in town planning. A Florida girl, Nikki relocated to the UK in 2014 with her husband and two children.



Nikki is our Practice Manager, managing our team of practitioners and heading up the day-to-day running of th clinic.


Nikki is involved in the strategic development of our practice, coming from a strong business background in town planning.


A Florida girl, Nikki relocated to the UK in 2014 with her husband and two children.


Stéphanie is a skilled nutritional therapist and functional medicine practitioner with additional training in eating disorders, disordered eating and obesity. She believes that working towards both physiological and mental health is key in achieving optimum wellbeing.


Stéphanie’s personal experience of emotional eating and the ongoing struggle to find the right support led her to combine the science of nutrition with behavioural coaching to motivate and empower her clients. She specialises in helping people who struggle with their weight and their relationship with food. She helps them develop a healthier and more peaceful relationship with food and their bodies.


To enquire about working with Stéphanie, please contact us.


Inna is passionate about supporting women on their journey to improved health and wellbeing. She believes that the solution to effective weight loss does not lie in ever more restrictive diets, but a more sophisticated approach that optimises health and vitality, as well as promoting effective weight loss.


Working with Inna you will benefit from her in-depth knowledge of female health and hormones. She will support you in developing a healthy diet, lifestyle and mindset that ensures you reach your ideal weight and maintain it in the years to come.


Inna is passionate about food with a wide repertoire of delicious healthy recipes and meal ideas to ensure your weight loss journey is as enjoyable as possible!


To enquire about working with Inna, please contact us.



Ania is a firm believer that improving your health and losing weight should be a positive, empowering journey, not one centred around deprivation.


After being diagnosed with two autoimmune conditions in her twenties, Ania spent several years educating herself on the power of food and nutrition. She put it all into practise and changed her diet and lifestyle, reversing her endometriosis and thyroid disease. After experiencing such a significant improvement in her health, Ania had a big desire to help others. She embarked on a four year journey to study nutrition, graduating from the Institute for Optimum Nutrition with distinction.


Ania specialises in autoimmunity and works with clients who have underlying health issues preventing successful weight loss. Her expertise enables her to successfully support our clients with conditions such as hypothyroidsm (underactive thyroid), PCOS and diabetes. 


To enquire about working with Ania, please contact us.

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