Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin. It mainly helps in calcium absorption, promoting growth and mineralisation of your bones, i.e. keep your bones hard!

Some people are more likely to have a lower Vitamin D level in their body. For example, those spend less time outdoor due to physical disability or those who wear face coverings for religious reasons. That is because Vitamin D is made by our skin after direct sun exposure. Our Vitamin D levels during winter tend to be lower due to shorter sunlight hours.

The best way to get more Vitamin D is via UV light from the sun, but some food also contains a small amount of vitamin D in nature or fortified, e.g. fish, egg, milk, margarine and mushroom. However, it is hard to obtain enough vitamin D from diet alone (only 5-10% of recommended intake).

The body can only absorb a limited amount of vitamin D at a time. Spending extra time in the sun won’t increase vitamin D levels – but will increase your risk of skin cancer.

Here are some tips on how to absorb vitamin D in daily life:

  1. Outdoor activities

Aim for a daily outdoor walk or exercise to make sure your body has absorbed enough vitamin D. The Australian guideline mentions that:

During May to Mid-August, try to get outdoor in the middle of each day for 20-30 minutes with some skin exposed. Sun protection is not recommended unless staying outdoor for extended periods.

During Mid-August to April, a few minutes of mid-morning or mid-afternoon sun exposure each day is recommended. When being outdoor for more than few minutes, wear covering clothing, sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses. But try not to be under the sun for too long!

  1. Get some mushroom in your diet!

Mushroom may be the only food source that can fulfil your daily need of vitamin D. Ordinary mushroom only contain some amount of vitamin D, but interestingly, mushroom can produce vitamin D (like humans) upon UV light exposure.

The vitamin D content of mushroom depends on the variety and exposure under the sun or UV light. For example, wild maitake mushrooms could provide almost triple of the RDI (Recommended Daily Intake). Having said that, you should not solely rely on mushroom for your vitamin D intake.

  1. Supplementation

Supplementation might be needed for people who are on a vegan diet, darker skin type, having difficulties in outdoor activities, or at risk of skin cancer. If you are concerned with your vitamin D status, make sure contact your GP and dietitian before starting supplementation!