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!”
What time of day is vitamin D strongest? ›
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.Which is the best time to take vitamin D? ›
Vitamin D can be taken at any time of day, and most of these supplements should be taken with fat-containing meals or snacks to ensure optimal absorption.Is vitamin D better taken morning or night? ›
There's no set time of day that's best to take vitamin D supplements. Some people say taking vitamin D supplements at night is an insomnia risk. There's no research to confirm this, but you might want to take your supplement earlier in the day if you think it's screwing with your sleep.When should you take vitamin D morning or evening? ›
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.Why should you take vitamin D at night? ›
Is there a benefit to taking vitamin D at night? There's been some buzz suggesting a link between supplementing with vitamin D before bedtime and the ability to drift off to dreamland. Some studies have shown that vitamin D is connected to the production of melatonin, which regulates circadian rhythm and drives sleep.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.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.Is vitamin D good for sleep? ›
Growing evidence has demonstrated that vitamin D has a role in sleep regulation . Specifically, vitamin D deficiency (VDD) can increase risk of sleep disorders and is associated with sleep difficulties, shorter sleep duration, and nocturnal awakenings in children and adults [13,14,15].Why does vitamin D make me sleepy? ›
Excessive amounts of vitamin D in the body can cause calcium levels in the blood to rise. This can lead to a condition called hypercalcemia (too much calcium in your blood). Symptoms include: fatigue.Which vitamin D is best for sleep? ›
Another pleasant side effect of taking a vitamin D3 supplement is improved sleep quality. Certain studies suggest that individuals with higher levels of D3 enjoy a longer sleep duration as well.
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.
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.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.How long after drinking coffee can I take vitamin D? ›
Try to avoid taking your vitamins with coffee or tea
So, wait an hour after your morning brew to take supplements.
First Thing in the Morning
Since Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, it is best absorbed when taken with a meal. However, many factors can affect when this occurs, such as your circadian rhythm, your sleep schedule, and when you typically go to bed.
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.What helps with absorption of vitamin D? ›
So, if you're taking your Vitamin D supplement at breakfast, lunch, or dinner, you can pair it with a food containing healthy fat. Try eating avocado, whole eggs, fatty fish, nuts, extra virgin olive oil, or full-fat dairy with your supplement to improve Vitamin D absorption.How long does it take for vitamin D to activate? ›
If you're using the sunshine for a vitamin D boost, you only need about 10-15 minutes in direct sun to reap the benefits.Why do I feel tired after taking vitamin D3? ›
Excessive amounts of vitamin D in the body can cause calcium levels in the blood to rise. This can lead to a condition called hypercalcemia (too much calcium in your blood). Symptoms include: fatigue.Is vitamin D3 and vitamin D the same? ›
What's the difference between vitamin D and vitamin D3? There are two possible forms of vitamin D in the human body: vitamin D2 and vitamin D3. Both D2 and D3 are simply called “vitamin D,” so there's no meaningful difference between vitamin D3 and just vitamin D.
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.What happens to your body when you start taking vitamin D? ›
Vitamin D has several important functions. Perhaps the most vital are regulating the absorption of calcium and phosphorus and facilitating normal immune system function ( 1 ). Getting enough vitamin D is important for typical growth and development of bones and teeth, as well as improved resistance to certain diseases.What disease is caused by a lack of vitamin D? ›
In adults, severe vitamin D deficiency leads to osteomalacia. Osteomalacia causes weak bones, bone pain, and muscle weakness.Can I take vitamin D at night? ›
Since it's best to take Vitamin D with a meal, it makes sense to avoid taking this supplement before bed. Eating too close to bedtime may cause sleep disruptions. Because certain populations are more prone to Vitamin D deficiency, it is important to know if you are at-risk.Does water help absorb vitamin D? ›
Supplementation of vitamin D3 for women with deficiency is more effectively absorbed using milk or water as the delivery vehicle, according to a Danish study presented at the European Congress of Endocrinology.