SOME of the best dietary sources of vitamin D3 include oily fish like salmon, sardines, pilchards, herring, and so on.  But a portion of these would provide around fifty per cent (5ug) of the recommended intake of 10ug and it isn’t advised to take two portions of fish per day to achieve your recommended daily intake of vitamin D3 as this would be reckless due to mercury levels, among other things. 

Avonmore brand protein milk is a decent source of vitamin D3 for adults with the Arla brand’s Whole Milk for Big Kids being a good option for 1 to 5-year-olds.  But again, you would need to take a lot of milk to achieve sufficient vitamin D3, which would probably be impractical. These foods (fish and milk) should just top up your vitamin D3 levels.

Sunshine, not food, is where most of your vitamin D3 cshould come from.  Vitamin D3 season is between April and September on the island of Ireland.  This means our bodies can absorb it the most from the sun during these months.  It’s advised to get 15 to 20 minutes of mid-afternoon sunshine with no sunscreen on during these months.  But above and beyond this, definitely wear sunscreen to prevent your skin burning.

If you don’t get the sun, or because it doesn’t come out on lots of days where we live, then try a daily supplement containing 10ug as a safety net.  Take a lichen supplement if you follow a vegan diet.  From one year of age through to adulthood, including pregnancy and senior years for all genders, we need about 10ug per day.

These are the guidelines in the North but new guidelines in the south recommend 15ug per day for teenagers and adults.  But what if a supplement has 20ug in it? If you bought a vitamin D3 supplement that contained 20ug, you would only need to take this every two days as vitamin D3 stores in our bodies.  Vitamin D helps absorb calcium which is a strong mineral that is essential for strong bones, muscle and teeth. 

Lee McCusker (BA; MSc; MSc; MSc; ANutr; SENr) is a registered nutritionist from Belfast and can be found on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.  Email: attentivenutrition@