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Vitamin D: Benefits, The Signs of Deficiency, and How to Get More

Vitamin D is a vital component not just for bone integrity but as a cornerstone for robust immune function, mental health, and heart vitality.  Yet, in the hustle and bustle...

Vitamin D is a vital component not just for bone integrity but as a cornerstone for robust immune function, mental health, and heart vitality. 

Yet, in the hustle and bustle of daily life, especially under the often cloud-covered skies of the UK, many of us may inadvertently find ourselves in the grips of a Vitamin D deficiency, a condition more common than many realise.

This comprehensive guide aims to shed light on Vitamin D's pivotal roles, unravel the mysteries of obtaining it through sunlight and diet, and highlight the silent signals our bodies send when they crave more. 

What Is Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is an essential fat-soluble vitamin. It’s sometimes called the “sunshine vitamin” because our skin makes it when exposed to the sun. It’s also the most common nutrient deficiency.

Like most vitamins, vitamin D has many functions in the body. It’s mostly known for its ability to help build strong bones. But, vitamin D is also important for a healthy immune system, digestive system, heart and mental health, blood sugar regulation, fertility, and resistance to cancer.

FUN FACT: Vitamin D is the vitamin with more scientific articles published since 2000 than any other vitamin.

What Are Some of The Benefits of Vitamin D?

Vitamin D holds many benefits for our bodies, ranging from energy levels to sleep, from our skin’s health to our mental wellbeing. Let’s go into a few of these below:

1. Vitamin D Increases Serotonin

Have you noticed how the sun tends to improve everyone's mood significantly? Well, you're not wrong to assume that! The sun's UVB rays trigger the synthesis of vitamin D in the skin, which is linked to mood regulation. Adequate levels of vitamin D are associated with a lower risk of depression. 

There is, in fact, scientific evidence to prove that there is a correlation between the sun and your mood. In order to explain this to you, here are the key reasons why the sun makes us feel so happy: 

  • Increases Serotonin Levels: Exposure to sunlight increases the production of serotonin, a key hormone in elevating mood and fostering a sense of well-being. This natural mood enhancer helps you feel calm and focused.
  • Enhances Outdoor Activity: More indirectly, but still significantly, sunlight encourages more outdoor activities, which are beneficial for mental health. Engaging in physical activities outdoors, like walking or cycling, can reduce feelings of anxiety and depression.

It is also linked with supporting your circadian rhythm, and therefore improving your sleep, which leads us on to the next point.

2. Vitamin D Improves Sleep

Sunlight, which stimulates vitamin D production, may actually help to improve our sleep, which ultimately will keep us feeling fresh and happy. Our body has a natural time-keeping clock which is referred to as our circadian rhythm, and we produce hormones which signal for our body to tell us when it’s time to sleep. 

Exposure to natural sunlight or bright light during the day can help to keep our circadian rhythm healthy and may improve sleep quality and duration. One study has even shown that day time bright light exposure reduced the time it took insomniacs to fall asleep by as much as 83%. 

Read More: Vitamin D Supplements Could Help with Sleep Disorders

3. Vitamin D Builds Bone Health: 

Vitamin D plays a pivotal role in the world of bone health by facilitating the absorption of calcium in our gut. Think of Vitamin D as the gatekeeper, ensuring that calcium, the building block of strong and sturdy bones, gets where it needs to go. Without it, our bones could turn as brittle as a biscuit left out in the rain, becoming thin, fragile, and prone to misshaping.

But the stakes are higher than just keeping our bones in good shape. A lack of this sunshine vitamin has been linked to osteoporosis—a condition that leaves bones delicate and susceptible to fractures from even the slightest tumble. And in children, the plot thickens further, as Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to rickets, a disease that can lead to bone deformities and stunted growth.

4. Vitamin D Provides Immune System Support:

Vitamin D is also a stalwart defender of our immune system. It works behind the scenes to empower our white blood cells, namely monocytes and macrophages, which are the front-line warriors in our body's ongoing battle against invaders, patrolling every nook and cranny to fend off unwanted pathogens.

But Vitamin D's role doesn't stop there. It's also a peacemaker, helping to dial down inflammation—a common response to infection but problematic when it goes into overdrive. By keeping inflammation in check, Vitamin D ensures that our immune system operates smoothly, without unnecessary flare-ups that can cause our bodies distress.

It's for these reasons that we've affectionately named our Vitamin D juice shots 'immunity shots.' Think of them as a daily dose of defence, a little insurance policy, helping to support the complex and incredibly vital network that keeps us feeling our best.

5. Vitamin D Bolsters Heart Health: 

Vitamin D has also been spotlighted by research for its potential role in heart health. It seems to wear many hats, from helping our heart muscle function smoothly to being a regulator of blood pressure and an agent in reducing inflammation. 

This contribution to heart health is just another example of Vitamin D’s importance in maintaining a healthy body and mind. It underscores the broader narrative of how integral the sunshine vitamin is across various aspects of our well-being. From bones to blood cells and now to the heart, Vitamin D’s role is multifaceted and deeply impactful, highlighting its essentialness in our journey towards holistic health.

Vitamin D Deficiency: The Quiet Culprit

Vitamin D deficiency is thought to affect 1 billion people worldwide, while 50% of us arguably has vitamin D insufficiency, making it an overwhelmingly common vitamin deficiency on the world stage. 

Therefore, understanding it, and recognising the signs behind it, are the first steps towards addressing it and letting a little bit more sunshine into your life.

What is Vitamin D Deficiency?

Vitamin D deficiency is the quiet, often overlooked condition where our body doesn't get enough of this essential nutrient. It's akin to a garden not getting enough sunlight; without it, the plants don't flourish as they should. In our bodies, this deficiency can mean weakened bones, a compromised immune system, and a higher risk of chronic diseases.

What Causes Vitamin D Deficiency?

Understanding what leads to this deficiency is like piecing together a puzzle. Several factors contribute, casting shadows on our body's ability to synthesise or absorb enough Vitamin D:

  • Limited Sunlight Exposure: The sun is our primary source of Vitamin D. In places like the UK, where cloudy days often outnumber sunny ones, getting adequate sunlight can be a challenge, especially in the winter months.
  • Dietary Gaps: For those on strict vegetarian or vegan diets, getting enough Vitamin D from food can be tricky since the most abundant sources are often fish, eggs, and fortified dairy products.
  • Skin Type and Excessive Sun Cream: The darker your skin, the more sunlight is needed to produce Vitamin D. Moreover, while sun cream protects against skin cancer, it also blocks the UVB rays necessary for Vitamin D production, so a bit of a tightrope act is required here. 
  • Age and Health Conditions: As we age, our skin's ability to produce Vitamin D diminishes. Additionally, certain health conditions and medications can impair absorption or synthesis of the vitamin.

This deficiency doesn't always announce itself with clear signs or symptoms, making it a silent spectre affecting many without them knowing it. It’s why understanding and awareness are pivotal—illuminating the shadows cast by Vitamin D deficiency is the first step towards ensuring our bodies receive the nourishment they need to thrive.

What Are the Vitamin D Deficiency Symptoms to Watch Out For?

Recognising the symptoms of vitamin D deficiency is a bit like learning a new language— picking up signs and listening to our bodies speaking to us about what they lack. Here’s a guide to interpreting these signs, the symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency to be mindful of:

  • Fatigue and Tiredness: Feeling perpetually drained, regardless of how much sleep you get, can be a subtle hint from your body indicating a lack of Vitamin D.
  • Bone and Back Pain: A more pronounced signal, this type of discomfort, especially in the lower back, can be your body crying out for Vitamin D, crucial for bone health and calcium absorption.
  • Muscle Pain and Weakness: Unexplained muscle pain, weakness, or cramps can be mysterious emissaries of Vitamin D deficiency, affecting your physical performance and comfort.
  • Mood Changes: Vitamin D has a role in brain function, and a deficiency might be behind shifts in mood, including feelings of depression or a pervasive sense of melancholy.
  • Impaired Wound Healing: If cuts or injuries are taking longer to heal than usual, it could be due to insufficient Vitamin D, which is essential for combating infection and inflammation in the healing process.
  • Bone Loss: For those in their golden years, reduced bone density might be a telltale of Vitamin D deficiency, posing a risk for osteoporosis and fractures.

Recognising these symptoms is the first step toward addressing and remedying Vitamin D deficiency. However, many of these signs are pretty vague and could be down to a variety of different factors or health conditions, so if any of them resonate, it’s best to check with your GP to make sure before supplementation. 

How Do You Get Vitamin D From The Sun?

Exposure to sunlight is thought to increase the production of a hormone called serotonin, which contributes to wellbeing and happiness. During the winter months where it’s dark and dull, this lack of light can also affect our serotonin levels.

This can be particularly problematic for those suffering with seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression that occurs during the autumn and winter, and is why those who are diagnosed may benefit from the use of a light box which mimics natural sunlight.

Vitamin D is referred to as the ‘sunshine vitamin’ for good reason! This vitamin is manufactured within the body in response to sunlight reaching our skin. This means that there is an increased risk of developing a vitamin D deficiency during the winter months, which is also associated with SAD. Since it is getting brighter, catch those rays of sun to regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the your body, and keep your bones, teeth and muscle healthy!

How Do You Get Enough Vitamin D?

Our bodies are designed to manufacture vitamin D when our skin is exposed to sunlight, however, the body’s ability to do so varies from person to person. Therefore, there are no current guidelines as to how much sunlight we should receive but is estimated that we spend around 10-15 minutes in the UK summer sun without sun cream a few times a week.

Winter months are more problematic, especially in the UK due to the short days and lack of light. We, therefore, must rely on food sources of vitamin D such as oily fish, eggs, cheese, and foods fortified with vitamin D such as some dairy products or cereals.   

The government also recommends that everyone over the age of 4 are supplement with 10 micrograms (400IU) each day from October to April. Other population groups may need to supplement all year round.

The issue of vitamin D deficiencies in colder countries is so apparent that it’s now widely recommended that everyone should supplement with vitamin D within winter months. 

Vitamin D Juice Shots: A Handy Companion

We are big believers that we should focus on getting the nutrients we need from actual food, but to get enough vitamin D this can be tricky unless you track your intake religiously.

With the help of our vitamin D health shots, we are making it that little bit easier to hit your target as we have packed each pocket rocket package with over 5ug. This is over 50% of your recommended daily intake!


Vitamin D DeficiencyStat Pearls, (

Vitamin D and the omega-3 fatty acids control serotonin synthesis and action, part 2: relevance for ADHD, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and impulsive behavior, The FASEB Journal, (

Vitamin D Supplementation and Sleep: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Intervention Studies, Nutrients Journal, (

By Lily Soutter, BSc (Hons) Food & Human Nutrition, Dip ION

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