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Vitamin D: Who Needs It – And How Much?

Vitamin D is a topic that piques many people’s interests in in these crazy Covid times.

In this piece, we discuss a recent research review from our friends at Precision Nutrition and how we might utilize these findings for potential health benefit.

What is Vitamin D?

Both these forms are associated with (but not definitively linked to) helping to some degree with conditions like:

  • acute infections

  • musculoskeletal disorders

  • type-I & type-II diabetes

  • some forms of cancer (not skin cancer)

  • dementia

  • autism

  • cardiovascular disease.

Am I Getting Enough?

It can difficult to know whether you’re getting enough vitamin D.

Generally speaking, there are some key factors you could consider if attempting to guess your vitamin D levels:

  • Diet – if your diet doesn’t include many foods with vitamin D (read on for more details of these), then you may well have some level of vitamin D deficiency

  • Exposure to sunlight – as Vitamin D can come from exposure to sunlight, the amount of sun the place where you live receives has a direct relationship with the amount of vitamin D your body synthesizes

  • Skin color – similarly, as darker skin provides more UV protection than fairer skin, darker skin receives less vitamin D as a result of exposure.

However, the most accurate way to determine whether you’re getting enough vitamin D is to go and get a blood test.

If you’re based in Hong Kong, there’s a place called Life Hub just round the corner from our studio in Hong Kong Central. They do a great job and can get you results at a relatively low cost.

How much vitamin D should we be getting?

You want to be getting around 800-1000 IUs per day from your various sources combined.

From our diet

Healthy food served in the plate

There are plenty of food sources rich in vitamin D, including:

  • Oil-rich fish (such as salmon, mackerel, trout, sardines and herring)

  • Eggs and cheese

  • Fortified dairy and non-dairy milks

  • Fortified cereals

  • UV-exposed mushroom (if you can find them)

  • Vitamin D supplements.

From sunlight

Woman standing in the plain field and enjoying the sun light

In terms of sunlight, this equates to around 20-30 minutes per day for those with fairer skin and perhaps a little longer for those with darker skin.

However, this comes with the serious caveat that too much unprotected UV exposure comes with risks of sunburn, eye damage, aging skin, heat stroke and skin cancer. So don’t forget to apply suncream once you’ve reached your limit – you can always get vitamin D from your diet too.

If I’m getting plenty of Vitamin D, does loading up on it give a further boost?

If you are already getting enough vitamin D, that’s great and keep it up!

However, there’s no current evidence to suggest there’s any benefit in taking additional vitamin D.

Next steps

With that said, if you’re interested in determining your vitamin levels:

  1. Go and get a blood test

  2. Consider adding foods rich in vitamin D to your diet if you’re not getting enough

  3. Get out and enjoy the sun (in moderation)

  4. If you’re getting enough, great job! Just keep doing your thing and there’s no real need to change your system.


1. Muscogiuri G. Introduction to Vitamin D: current evidence and future directions. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2020 Nov;74(11):1491–2.

2. Gunville CF, Mourani PM, Ginde AA. The role of vitamin D in prevention and treatment of infection. Inflamm Allergy Drug Targets. 2013 Aug;12(4):239–45.

3. Institute of Medicine. Dietary reference intakes for calcium and vitamin D. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press; 2011.