You may not realize that for most of us, there is actually a best time to take vitamin D. This is due to the fact that throughout most of the world, we experience a fluctuation in climate and the amount of sunlight we are exposed to throughout the year. As vitamin D is known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’ it is important that we get enough exposure to UV radiation to ensure that we don’t develop deficiencies, as the sun is our main source of vitamin D.
Vitamin D isn’t just important in its own right, it also helps us to absorb calcium and phosphorus, which are the most abundant minerals found in our skeletons. If we have a vitamin D deficiency we are also putting ourselves at risk for diseases related to calcium and phosphorus deficiency, which primarily impact our bone health.
If you’re worried about getting enough vitamin D through the colder months, you might want to start taking the best vitamin D supplements to support your health.
What is vitamin D?
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin important for the absorption of calcium and phosphate, which means that it is a vital component for the maintenance of good bone health.
Dora Walsh, a registered dietitian for Berocca Immuno, (opens in new tab) explains that vitamin D can be hard to obtain through dietary sources. “It's very hard to get vitamin D from food as there are only a few foods that are rich in vitamin D such as oily fish, butter, eggs, and sun-dried mushrooms,” she explains. “Therefore, supplementing vitamin D is something to consider. If we are deficient in vitamin D there is a risk that this would naturally weaken our immune system.”
A study in Vnitrní Lékarství, (opens in new tab) a Czech community medical journal, indicates that vitamin D is of particular importance for children and adolescents whose bones are still growing, and older people who are at risk of osteoporosis (thinning bones). Vitamin D is also used by the body to help repair damage, reduce inflammation and assist in processes such as cell growth and immune function.
Dr. Liakas, a cosmetic surgeon and the medical director of the Harley Street medical and cosmetic clinic, Vie Aesthetics (opens in new tab), tells us more about what vitamin D is good for. “Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is involved in many essential body functions,” he says. “There are 2 forms of vitamin D in our diet and supplements: vitamin D2; which is interestingly found in some mushrooms and Vitamin D3; found in oily fish, fish liver oil, and egg yolks. Almost every cell in your body has a receptor for vitamin D. It is essential to many processes, including bone health, immune system function and can help against cancer.”
Hannah Braye, a registered nutritionist and technical advisor at Bio-Kult (opens in new tab), told Fit&Well about the impact vitamin D may have on gut health. “The gut is one of the most important target organs of vitamin D,” she says. “Research shows that an optimal vitamin D status plays an important role in maintaining gut health via many regulatory activities such as; calcium and phosphate absorption, protection against infection, preservation of the gut lining, anti-inflammatory action and modulation of the gut microbes.”
Hannah is a qualified Nutritional Therapist having studied for three years at the College of Naturopathic Medicine (CNM) in Bristol, where she graduated with an award for outstanding performance. She is a member of the British Association of Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy (BANT) and listed on the Complementary and Natural Health Care Council (CNHC)’s approved accredited register.
Dora Walsh is a registered Nutritionist mBANT, Registered Nutritional Therapist mBANT CNHC is one of the UK’s most sought-after Nutritionists, wellbeing experts, presenters, brand advisers and writers.
Dr Ioannis Liakas
Prior to becoming an industry leading aesthetic doctor, Dr Ioannis Liakas worked for the NHS for more than 20 years. As an award-winning aesthetician, he has appeared on TV and in print to educate consumers on safety and the latest medical innovations. Among his growing list of accomplishments, he is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians (FRCP), an Honorary Senior Lecturer at Queen Mary Medical School, and a Member of the British College of Aesthetic Medicine.
What is the best time to take vitamin D?
If you live in a climate with less year-round sunshine, it is recommended that you take a vitamin D supplement from October to March, as the sun’s rays are not as strong over this period. However, certain groups will need to take a Vitamin D supplement year-round.
We spoke to Rhiannon Lambert, a registered nutritionist and founder of Rhitrition+ (opens in new tab), who explained further. “For some people there may be circumstances where they might be at an increased risk of Vitamin D deficiency,” she says. “ In these cases, it is recommended that you should consider supplementing with Vitamin D all year round.” She tells us those at particular risk include:
Rhiannon Lambert is a Registered Nutritionist and founder of the leading nutrition clinic Rhitrition. After releasing her debut bestseller Re-Nourish: A Simple Way to Eat Well, Rhiannon transitioned from author to podcast host and is the creator of chart-topping health podcast Food for Thought.
- “Those with darker skin, such as those of African, African-Caribbean or south
- Asian origin, who live in the UK or other northern climates, may not produce enough Vitamin D during summer months
- If you are spending a lot of time indoors as you may be housebound or frail
- Those in institutionalized care
- People who wear clothing that covers up most of your skin when outdoors.”
How does your body process vitamin D?
Although you can get Vitamin D from dietary sources and supplements, the best way to provide your body with this nutrient is to expose your skin to the sun for short periods of time throughout the day. Although sun protection is important to lower your risk of developing skin cancer, you may want to set aside some time each day to spend outside in daylight. Even on a cloudy day, we are still exposed to some UV light, so it doesn’t necessarily need to be bright and sunny outside for our skin to produce Vitamin D, particularly in the summer months.
Lambert explains further how our bodies turn sunlight into a usable vitamin. “To be able to be used by the body, the Vitamin D that we get from the sun and from our diets needs to undergo a certain conversion process,” she says. “The Vitamin D we get from the sun’s UVB rays reacts with enzymes in our skin cells and is converted and eventually restructured into Vitamin D3.”
Can you take too much vitamin D?
If you take more than the recommended amount of Vitamin D, you are putting yourself at risk of Vitamin D toxicity, which is generally characterized as a buildup of calcium in your blood (hypercalcemia). Symptoms of this can include nausea, muscle weakness weakness, and frequent urination.
Dr Liakas warns against overdoing it with the Vitamin D supplements. “Taking too many Vitamin D supplements over a longer period of time can cause excess calcium to build up in the body,” he explains. “As a result, your bones can begin to weaken and damage to the heart and kidneys could be possible. If you do choose to take supplements to boost your health, around 10 micrograms a day is enough for most people!”
Which time of the day is best for vitamin D? ›
To get an optimal vitamin D supplement from the sun at a minimal risk of getting cutaneous malignant melanoma (CMM), the best time of sun exposure is noon.Why should you take vitamin D at night? ›
Research suggests vitamin D is involved in your body's production of melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate your circadian rhythms and can benefit your overall sleep quality. This means vitamin D might actually improve your sleep quality.What is the proper way to take vitamin D? ›
Place each dose on the tongue, allow it to dissolve completely, and then swallow it with saliva or water. You do not need to take this medication with water. Certain medications (bile acid sequestrants such as cholestyramine/colestipol, mineral oil, orlistat) can decrease the absorption of vitamin D.Should vitamin D be taken at night or day? ›
We recommend taking it with a source of quality fat in the morning or when you break your fast. Avoid taking vitamin D in the evening (we'll talk about why below). Since vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin—meaning it doesn't dissolve in water—your body can most easily absorb it when you take it with food.Is vitamin D OK to take at night? ›
While the best timing has not been established, scientific data to confirm anecdotal reports that supplementing at night may interfere with sleep is unavailable. Current research suggests you can fit vitamin D into your routine whenever you prefer.Does vitamin D make you sleepy or awake? ›
It seems vitamin D helps you sleep because it takes part in the regulation of our circadian rhythms. Increasing dosages could be the first step to improving sleep, but pay attention to its effects. Vitamin D may suppress melatonin production. So take it in the day, not before bed.Does vitamin D make you sleepy? ›
You'll be sleepy the next day. Several studies even saw a dose-dependent relationship between vitamin D levels and sleep. [1,2] This adds to the evidence that there is a direct, linear relationship between vitamin D and sleep measures. This also means that improving your vitamin D by any amount will improve your sleep.Does taking vitamin D before bed keep you awake? ›
Also, a study showed that when taken in large quantities, vitamin D can reduce the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone. Maybe because the body interprets vitamin D as a sign that there is sunlight – the vitamin is produced due to sun exposure – and therefore reduces the production of melatonin.What are the signs you need vitamin D? ›
- Not sleeping well.
- Bone pain or achiness.
- Depression or feelings of sadness.
- Hair loss.
- Muscle weakness.
- Loss of appetite.
- Getting sick more easily.
The main consequence of vitamin D toxicity is a buildup of calcium in your blood (hypercalcemia), which can cause nausea and vomiting, weakness, and frequent urination. Vitamin D toxicity might progress to bone pain and kidney problems, such as the formation of calcium stones.
What's the difference between vitamin D and D3? ›
There are quite a few differences between vitamin D and vitamin D3, but the main difference between them is that vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that regulates calcium and phosphorous levels in the body, whereas the vitamin D3 is the natural form of vitamin D produced by the body from sunlight.What vitamins are best taken at night? ›
Time of Day
- Certain B vitamins.
- Vitamin C.
- Vitamin D.
Vitamin D can be taken any time. As it is fat soluble, likely best to take it with a meal. As Vitamin D is fat soluble, it has to be taken with a fatty acid that can serve as a transport. It is likely easiest to take Vitamin D with a meal, but you can also pair it with a fat like Fish Oil or a teaspoon of coconut oil.Does vitamin D affect hair? ›
Research shows that a lack of vitamin D in your body can lead to hair loss. One role vitamin D plays is stimulating new and old hair follicles. When there isn't enough vitamin D in your system, new hair growth can be stunted.Does vitamin D cause weight gain? ›
Despite these findings, the current body of research suggests that consuming higher amounts of vitamin D has little effect on weight gain or loss.How soon will I feel better after taking vitamin D3? ›
So, when it comes to vitamin d deficiency treatments, how long till you start to feel better? Those with the lowest levels should feel an improvement after just a few days, while those who only need to top up their levels may have to wait a week or two before they begin to feel healthier and more energised.Which vitamins should you not take together? ›
- Magnesium and calcium. ...
- Iron and green tea. ...
- Vitamin C and B12. ...
- Fat-soluble and water-soluble vitamins. ...
- Vitamin D, vitamin K2, and other fat-soluble vitamins. ...
- Magnesium and vitamin D3. ...
- Copper and zinc. ...
- Omega-3s and vitamin E.
- Orange juice.
- Cod liver oil.
- Raw Oysters.
"The overwhelming majority are self-collected blood tests including at-home finger prick options like imaware." Everlywell, Drop, and myLAB Box are other brands that offer at-home vitamin D tests. Each relies on a finger prick blood sample.What happens to your body when your vitamin D is very low? ›
Left untreated, vitamin D deficiency can lead to osteoporosis in adults, rickets in children and adverse outcomes in pregnant women. It may also be linked to heart disease, diabetes and cancer — although more study is needed on the topic.
Who should not take vitamin D3? ›
- high amount of phosphate in the blood.
- high amount of calcium in the blood.
- excessive amount of vitamin D in the body.
- kidney stones.
- decreased kidney function.
Conclusion: Oral vitamin D 3 has no significant effect on blood pressure in people with vitamin D deficiency. It reduces systolic blood pressure in people with vitamin D deficiency that was older than 50 years old or obese.Can too much vitamin D make your joints hurt? ›
Vitamin D toxicity can cause hypercalcemia and subsequent problems with the bones, including a loss of bone density . Some symptoms include: aching or painful bones.Which type of vitamin D is best? ›
Choosing the Best Vitamin D Supplement for Your Health
If you choose to go the supplement route, Clifford recommends taking around 400 to 800 IU of vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) per day. “Vitamin D3 is the form that is already stored in the body, so some studies have found it to be more effective,” Clifford says.
In summary, long-term supplementation with vitamin D3 in doses ranging from 5000 to 50,000 IUs/day appears to be safe.Is it better to take vitamin D every day or once a week? ›
Oral vitamin D3 can be taken once a day but also with longer intervals because of its long half life, being around 25 days. It is not known whether equivalent doses once a week or once a month are equally effective.Should I take vitamin D all at once or spread it out? ›
People can pop a lot at once, even a week's worth at a single sitting, with no adverse effects. And unlike the other fat-soluble vitamins, A, E and K, the sunshine vitamin is absorbed well without food, so it can be taken any time. "Take it on a full stomach, take it on an empty stomach.Where is the best place on the body to absorb vitamin D? ›
The vitamin D that is consumed in food or as a supplement is absorbed in the part of the small intestine immediately downstream from the stomach. Stomach juices, pancreatic secretions, bile from the liver, the integrity of the wall of the intestine — they all have some influence on how much of the vitamin is absorbed.