We all know the importance of making sure we get enough Vitamin D, especially for those of us who eat a plant-based diet or have darker skin, and for everyone else throughout the winter months. It is mainly produced in our skin via exposure to UVB rays, which is why the shorter days of autumn and winter can lower our naturally occurring levels of this vital vitamin as we spend more time indoors.
This means that some of us are at risk of a deficiency, the symptoms of which can be life limiting. Vitamin D is responsible for keeping a huge number of our body’s functions working properly, including staving off disease, fighting the symptoms of depression and anxiety, and ensuring that our bones stay strong, so not getting enough can cause some serious symptoms. These symptoms include fatigue, muscle and bone pain, risk of developing bowel problems, and the development or exacerbation of anxiety and depression symptoms.
If you suspect that you might have a deficiency, there are a number of things that you can do to get more vitamin D and help to tick yourself back over into the green, so to speak. But how long will this take to work before you begin to feel like your normal self again? Let’s see if we can find out.
First off, if you think you are experiencing the symptoms of a Vitamin D deficiency and you’re not sure what to do - book an appointment with a healthcare professional, like your GP. They will most likely be able to refer you for blood tests to look at your vitamin levels and discover if there are any other underlying problems. They might also be able to prescribe a course of high strength Vitamin D to give you a nudge in the right direction.
Vitamin D is expressed in two different units; micrograms and International Units (IU) where 1 microgram is equal to 40IU. Children under a year old require between 8.5 and 10 micrograms of Vitamin D every day. The rest of us need 10 micrograms (400 IU) daily. This is the same during pregnancy and breastfeeding, and for people who are at risk of a deficiency. Healthcare authorities, such as the NHS in the UK, recommend that adults and children take a 400 IU supplement in the autumn and winter months. However, those at a greater risk of deficiency are recommended to supplement all year round.
Vivo Life’s Vegan Liquid Vitamin D3 contains 2,000 IU of Vitamin D per dose, along with 25 micrograms of Vitamin K2, enhancing the beneficial effects to ensure that you are at a lower risk of becoming deficient.
So, to answer our question of how long it takes for Vitamin D to work, then, it depends on two factors; your current levels of Vitamin D, and the amount of it you’re taking in, whether via sunlight, food or supplement. The lower, or more deficient you are, the longer it might take to regain a normal operating level, up to a few months. This means that you might not be able to quickly boost your levels of Vitamin D using only natural means, and you might want to consider a daily supplement.
The more severe the deficiency, the longer it will take for the body to build its levels back again and be able to function properly, so don’t expect an immediate sensation of wellness. Rather, notice how the body regains its energy, and your skin regains its glow over time. The fatigue will drop away and it might even start to get easier to get out of bed. It’s very important to maintain those levels with supplementation too: a cycle of using Vitamin D to relieve a deficiency and then reverting to old habits, or not taking a supplement just because you feel well again might cause lasting damage to your body. Plus, who wants to revert to feeling awful?
It is worth noting that continuing to take very high doses of Vitamin D supplements can cause long term complications. Research has shown that taking 4,000 IU of Vitamin D per day can cause a condition called hypercalcaemia where the body absorbs too much calcium and it builds up over time. This can not only weaken your bones, but also cause kidney and heart damage. You can’t take in ‘too much’ via exposure to sunlight, so make sure you’re getting out in nature and getting those rays - but do make sure you don’t burn!
Of course, if just focusing on one vitamin isn’t really your style, our Vegan Multivitamin & Mineral Supplement is packed full of a range of vitamins, including Vitamin D3, Vitamin A, Vitamin B2, B12, Calcium, Iron and more, and is a great way of supporting a plant-based diet with all the essential nutrients your body needs.