20% off £30


20% off £30



🏷️ Buy 1 Get 1 Free☀️ Summer ShopOffersOffers HubBuy one get one 1/2 priceSave up to 1/2 PriceBuy 1 Get 1 Free25% off Online Only OfferOutletFree gift with purchase1/2 Price2 for £50Short DatedVitamins & SupplementsVitamins & Supplements HubVitamins & Supplements Shop AllCBDShop all CBDCBD OilCBD CapsulesCBD SprayCBD GummiesCollagen & SilicaHair, Skin & NailsShop all Hair, Skin & NailsHair GrowthFunctional MushroomsVitaminsShop all VitaminsMultivitaminsVitamin AVitamin BVitamin CVitamin DVitamin EVitamin KVitamin DrinksMineralsShop all MineralsMagnesiumIronZincCalciumSeleniumChromiumSupplementsShop all SupplementsFibre SupplementsAcidophilus & Friendly BacteriaPeppermint OilGrapeseed ExtractLecithinCollagen & SilicaOmega & Fish OilsPlant Sourced SupplementsSuperfood SupplementsArnicaApple CiderRaspberry KetonesAloe VeraChondroitin & MSMCo Enzyme Q10Evening Primrose OilGarlicGinkgo BilobaGlucosamineGlucomannanSeaweed, Kelps and Aquaceuticals5 HTPSaw palmettoCharcoalWomen's HealthShop all Women's HealthMenopauseMenstrual SupportUrinary Tract HealthPregnancy & ConceptionMen's HealthShop all Men's HealthProstate HealthChildren's HealthConditionShop all ConditionWater RetentionAllergy & Hay Fever CareAnxiety SupportBone & Muscle HealthMuscle Support & Joint PainBrain & Memory SupportWomen's HealthMen's HealthChildren's HealthPain ReliefCold & Immune SupportFatigueDigestive HealthHair, Skin & NailsHeart & CirculationLiver CareMood SupportSexual HealthSleep & RelaxationStress ReliefVisionHerbal & Licensed RemediesShop all Herbal & Licensed RemediesValerianSt John's WortRescue RemedyAgnus CastusAshwagandhaEchinaceaMilk ThistleDevil's ClawGinseng & GuaranaBlack CohoshHomeopathic & Flower RemediesShop all Homeopathic & Flower RemediesRescue RemedyTissue SaltsFlower RemediesHomeopathic RemediesAt-Home TestsVegan Vitamins & SupplementsBuy one get one 1/2 priceBuy 1 Get 1 FreeSave up to 1/2 PriceHolland & BarrettVitabioticsSolgarWeledaNew NordicBioglanBetterYouNatures AidGrass & Co.Nature's WayDairy FreeGluten FreeSesame Seed FreeCelery FreeCereal FreeCrustaceans FreeEgg FreeFish FreeKiwi FreeLupin FreeNew inFood & DrinkFood & Drink HubFood & Drink Shop AllVegan FoodHoney, Jams & SpreadsShop all Honey, Jams & SpreadsManuka HoneyHoneyJams & ChutneysNut ButtersSpreadsPateTeas, Coffee & Hot BeveragesShop all Teas, Coffee & Hot BeveragesCoffee & Coffee SubstitutesMushroom DrinksTeasSuperfood TeasMatcha & Green TeaSleep & Relaxation TeaDried Fruit, Nuts & SeedsShop all Dried Fruit, Nuts & SeedsNutsDried FruitSeedsMixesSuperfoodsShop all SuperfoodsSuperfood PowdersMaca PowderGoji BerriesBaobabMoringa PowderFlaxseedSpirulinaChia SeedsSnacksShop all SnacksProtein BarsLow Calorie SnacksChocolate, Cakes & BiscuitsSavoury SnacksSweet SnacksSnack BarsCrisps & ChipsFlapjacksPopcornFood CupboardShop all Food CupboardHoney, Jams & SpreadsBreakfast CerealsSuperfoodsApple Cider VinegarCondiments & SaucesTinned FoodsRice, Pasta, Pulses & GrainsBreakfast CerealsShop all Breakfast CerealsCereals, Bran & FlakesGranolaMuesliOats & PorridgeBreakfast BarsDrinks & JuicesShop all Drinks & JuicesKombuchaNatural Energy DrinksJuicesSoft DrinksWaterAlcohol Free DrinksCookingShop all CookingCooking IngredientsApple Cider VinegarCondiments & SaucesSoya & Meat AlternativeSoup & Ready MealsRice, Pasta, Pulses & GrainsHerbs, Spices & SeasoningGravy & StockHome BakingShop all Home BakingBaking MixesBreadFlourSweeteners & Sugar AlternativesEgg SubstitutesDairy AlternativesShop all Dairy AlternativesOat, Rice & Hemp DrinksSoya DrinksNut DrinksCoconut DrinksNutritionally Complete FoodBuy one get one 1/2 priceSave up to 1/2 Price25% off Online Only OfferHolland & BarrettNaturyaHeath & HeatherPukkaGrenadeMeridianTwiningsBionaNakdHuelGluten FreeDairy FreeEgg FreeWheat FreeMilk FreeMustard FreeCelery FreeFish FreeSulphites FreeCrustaceans FreeNew inSports NutritionSports Nutrition HubSports Nutrition Shop AllProteinShop all ProteinClear ProteinWhey ProteinMass GainersVegan ProteinDiet ProteinCaseinSports SupplementsShop all Sports SupplementsTestosteroneSports CollagenBars, Drinks & SnacksShop all Bars, Drinks & SnacksEnergy BarsEnergy DrinksProtein BarsProtein ShakesProtein SnacksNutritionally Complete FoodMeal Replacement ShakesPre Workout & EnergyShop all Pre Workout & EnergyPre WorkoutAmino Energy DrinksAmino Energy PowdersIntra WorkoutKetoPost WorkoutAmino AcidsShop all Amino AcidsAmino Energy PowdersAmino Energy DrinksBCAAL-LysineGlutamineCarnitineArginineCreatineShop all CreatineCreatine PowderCreatine CapsulesRehydrationShop all RehydrationElectrolytesEnergy GelsVegan Sports NutritionShop all Vegan Sports NutritionVegan ProteinVegan Protein BarsVegan Pre Workout & EnergyVegan Amino AcidsVegan CreatineSports AccessoriesShop all Sports AccessoriesBottles & ShakersFitness EquipmentFitness GoalShop all Fitness GoalRecoveryMuscle & StrengthLean MuscleEnergy & EnduranceDiet & Weight LossSave up to 1/2 PriceBuy one get one 1/2 price2 for £50Optimum NutritionPE NutritionUSNApplied NutritionGrenadePhDSiSFoodspringHuelYfoodDairy FreeGluten FreeSugar FreeSoya FreeCelery FreeCereal FreeCrustaceans FreeEgg FreeFish FreeKiwi FreeNew inBeautyBeauty HubNatural Beauty Shop AllAromatherapy & HomeShop all Aromatherapy & HomePure Essential OilsBlended Essential OilsBase & Carrier OilsHolisticSkincareShop all SkincarePremium SkincareFace CareBody CareSun CareTanning & BronzingEye CareLip CareFoot CareHand & Nail CareSkin AilmentsSkin OilsCBD BeautyHair Skin & NailsWashing & BathingShop all Washing & BathingShampoo & ConditionerBathing AccessoriesShower Gel & Body WashDeodorantDentalHand WashSoapBath Soak & OilBody ScrubBath Bombs & SaltsFeminine CareIncontinence SupportHair CareShop all Hair CareShampoo & ConditionerHair ColouringHair MasksHair Oil & SerumHair Spray, Gel & MousseHair AccessoriesMother & BabyShop all Mother & BabyBaby Skincare & ToiletriesElectrical WellnessSexual WellnessSave up to 1/2 PriceBuy 1 Get 1 FreeBuy one get one 1/2 priceDr OrganicFaith in NatureWeledaNaturtintTisserandSukinMiaromaQ+AEthiqueSo EcoAlcohol FreeParfum FreeParaben FreeSLS FreePalm Oil FreeGluten FreeCelery FreeCereal FreeCrustaceans FreeEgg FreeNew inCBDWeight ManagementWeight Management HubWeight Management Shop AllFat Burners, Binders & Appetite SuppressantsShop all Fat Burners, Binders & Appetite SuppressantsFat BurnersFat BindersAppetite SuppressantsSlimming TabletsShakes & Weight Management ShotsShop all Shakes & Weight Management ShotsMeal Replacement ShakesDiet ProteinDiet Food & DrinkShop all Diet Food & DrinkDiet FoodLow Calorie SnacksSlimming TeaExercise SupportShop all Exercise SupportFitness EquipmentMeal Replacement ShakesDiet ProteinProtein BarsSave up to 1/2 PriceBuy one get one 1/2 price2 for £50Optimum NutritionGrenadeHolland & BarrettUSNPhDPulsinEat WaterNatures AidNew NordicSlimExpertDairy FreeSugar FreeGluten FreeWheat FreeNew inVeganHealth & WellnessShop all Health & WellnessJoints Bones & MusclesGut HealthHair Skin & NailsStress AnxietySleep & RelaxationBuy one get one 1/2 priceBuy 1 Get 1 FreeSave up to 1/2 PriceHolland & BarrettWeledaVitabioticsDr OrganicSolgarNaturtintOptimum NutritionNew NordicHeath & HeatherBioglanDairy FreeGluten FreeParaben FreeSLS FreeAlcohol FreeParfum FreeSugar FreeWheat FreeSoya FreeEgg FreeNew inShop for your WellnessWomen's HealthMenstrual HealthMenopauseJoints, Bones & MusclesGut HealthHair, Skin & NailsImmunitySleep & RelaxationFood & DietChildren's HealthStress ReliefHealthy HeartEnergyLow Mood & DepressionConcentration & AlertnessEye HealthSexual HealthLearn about WellnessWomen's HealthPeriods & Cycle HealthMenopauseJoints, Bones & MusclesImmunityGut HealthFood & DietSports & FitnessSleep & RelaxationHair Skin & NailsAll articlesHealthFood & nutritionGut healthImmunityJoints, bones & musclesWomen's healthWellnessHair & skinMental wellbeingSeasonalSleep & relaxationSports nutritionRecipesAll recipesGluten freeLow sugarVeganDairy freePodcast

How to test your vitamin D levels & why it is so important

vitamin d test
If you are experiencing symptoms of low vitamin D levels/deficiency, it’s recommended you get tested. We explain how to do just that and why it’s important.

If you don’t like being in the sun, are strict with your SPF routine, tend to cover up with clothes, have darker skin, or all of the above (!), you are at a higher risk of low vitamin D or vitamin D deficiency.

What’s more, the government advises everyone to take a vitamin D supplement in the autumn and winter months, as we naturally are exposed to less sunlight.

Although some foods are rich in vitamin D, like oily fish, our bodies only roughly absorb 10% of vitamin D from this source. The other 90% is made in our bodies, and this process requires sun exposure.1

Common symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include low mood, weak muscles and getting sick a lot. Stick with us to learn more about vitamin D and our health, how to test your vitamin D levels and why it is so important.

What happens when your vitamin D is low?

Your bones really don’t like it! You may have already heard about the link between rickets and vitamin D in children (osteomalacia in adults).

Low levels of vitamin D can be difficult to spot until it’s too late and you are dangerously lacking; yet around 1 in 5 people in the UK have low vitamin D levels according to national surveys.2

Your body needs vitamin D for the following functions:3

  • Supporting the immune system
  • Musclefunction

When your body is low in vitamin D, it can show in a variety of ways, including:4

  • Joint and bone aches
  • Growth problems
  • Constipation
  • Gum disease

Handpicked content: What is vitamin D and why is it so important? 

What causes a Vitamin D deficiency?

Generally, a lack of sunlight absorption is to blame for vitamin D deficiency.

Although many people tend to get enough vitamin D from sunlight and vitamin-D rich foods in the spring and summer months, there are some groups of people who are at risk of vitamin D deficiency, like:4

Breastfed babies

Babies who are breastfed are usually recommended a vitamin D supplement as parents are advised to keep them out of direct sunlight – especially with no sun protection on!

Babies fed an infant formula (more than 1000ml a day) are already covered though, as the formulas will contain vitamin D already.

Older adults

Older adults have a higher risk of developing low vitamin D supplements as our bodies ability to make vitamin D decline with age, and they tend to spend more time indoors and eat less nutritious food.

People with limited sun exposure

Groups of people who are likely to experience limited sun exposure include:

  • Housebound people
  • People who wear long dresses, robes or head coverings for religious or cultural reasons
  • Those with jobs that limit sun exposure, e.g. office workers

The body can’t make vitamin D without sunshine, so these groups of people may not make enough to sustain healthy levels.

Dark-skinned people

The darker your skin is, the more melanin it contains, which reduces the skin’s ability to produce vitamin D from sunlight.

They have to have more sun exposure than light-skinned people to produce the same amount of vitamin D.

Other groups of people who may struggle to make enough vitamin D in their bodies include:

  • People with conditions that limit fat absorption, e.g. Chron’s disease, cystic fibrosis and liver disease
  • People who have had gastric bypass surgery
  • Obese individuals
  • Vegans and vegetarians (only if they don’t get enough sun!)

How is vitamin D deficiency diagnosed?

Your symptoms will be taken into consideration and your doctor will likely order you a vitamin D deficiency test (blood test) to explore any suspicions.

What is a vitamin D blood test called?

The most common vitamin D blood test is called the 25-hydroxyvitamin D, also known as 25- (OH)D.

This tests for the most circulated form of vitamin D, and is currently considered the best indicator of vitamin D supply to the body.

When should vitamin D levels be checked?

You should consider checking your vitamin D levels if you have been experiencing some of the symptoms and/or you are in one of the at-risk groups.

Can you test your vitamin D levels at home?

Thanks to modern technology, going to the GP isn’t your only option if you want to test your vitamin D levels, you can now do a vitamin D test at home.

We’ll explain the benefits of both options below.

Home vitamin D diagnostic kit vs a blood test from your doctor

It’s only natural at this point to ask why you would want to test your vitamin D levels at home when you can go and get one free from your GP?

Benefits of home vitamin D diagnostic kits

Benefits of home vitamin D diagnostics kits can include:

  • No doctor’s appointment necessary
  • Don’t need to book off work / use holiday
  • Do it whenever is best for you
  • Quick and easy

However, it is important to keep in mind that these sorts of tests are no substitute for seeing your doctor, especially if you are suffering symptoms, as these companies will not be able to diagnose, consult or provide any treatment.

But, if you just want to know for peace of mind or if you should be upping the vitamin D in your life, they can provide very useful.

How do home vitamin D blood tests work?

It depends on the brand, but generally a home vitamin D level test will work a little like this:

  1. You order a test online or pick up a test kit from a store / clinic.
  2. It will likely contain a finger prick and corresponding vial to collect blood from your finger so that it can be tested for vitamin D.
  3. You will have to send it to a return address / lab or arrange for somebody to collect it for you.
  4. It will get tested (hopefully by an accredited laboratory) and the service provider should contact you to tell you your results.

Do home vitamin D blood tests work?

If you go with a reputable home blood test brand that sends out good testing kit, clear instructions, and uses accredited laboratories to test your blood samples, and details/communicates your results clearly, then yes, they should work.

Obviously, you have to take ownership of following instructions correctly and completing ‘your part’ at home, as this is the most important bit to get right!

How to choose an at home vitamin D test kit:

As we touched on above, the most important things you need to consider when choosing an at-home testing kit for vitamin B12 include:

  • Check if they measure vitamin D (25 OH), as testing for this majorly circulated form of vitamin D is currently considered the best indicator of vitamin D supply to the body https://www.bda.uk.com/foodfacts/VitaminD.pdf
  • Do they use accredited UKAS laboratories (or equivalent) to test your samples? You don’t want just any old lab testing your results, make sure they are the real deal
  • Do they have doctors on hand to help interpret your results? Some aftercare is sometimes necessary, especially if you have confusing results, so check if they have a doctor on board to help if needed.
  • Do they have good reviews? Check their brand website and the reviews they have received to see what other people think of their service.

How to get the best results from a home vitamin D kit

Here are a few tips on how to get the best results from any home blood test kit:8

  • To accurately determine deficiency or low levels of vitamin D you must take the test before you take any vitamin or mineral supplements. Ask your doctor about this if it is prescribed to you.
  • You should also avoid taking biotin supplements for at least 2 days before you test – again, check with your doctor if it’s prescribed to you
  • Follow instructions accurately for your specific blood test kit

Medichecks Vitamin D (25 OH) Blood Test

If you would like to check your vitamin D levels at home, this at home vitamin D test kit by Medichecks could be for you!

Key benefits:

  • Measures the major circulating form of vitamin D (25 OH)
  • An easy and affordable way to check if your vitamin D levels are normal or you are deficient
  • Simple finger-prick sample method, which is sent off and checked by accredited laboratories with a doctor’s interpretation
  • Results in 2 working days from sample receipt at lab

How to keep your vitamin D levels healthy

If you do discover you have a vitamin D deficiency or low amounts in your body, you should always seek the advice of your GP, who can help you get to the root of the cause and advise treatment.

Vitamin D supplements are widely available if you worry that your diet or other lifestyle factors may eventually lead to depleted vitamin D levels.

Most multivitamins contain vitamin D too, and it doesn’t hurt to pre-empt any potential vitamin D issues by supplementing, especially if you don’t eat many Vitamin D-rich foods.

The UK government recommends that breastfeeding babies (baby formula already contains vitamin D) all the way up to 5 year old children should be given a vitamin D supplement: 8.5-10mcg for under 1 year old and 10mcg for the rest.5

Children aged 5 years + and adults (including pregnant and breastfeeding people) should also consider taking a vitamin D supplement during the autumn and winter months. 

You can also easily increase the vitamin D in your body by eating some or all of the following: 

  • Oily fish, like salmon and sardines
  • Fish and algae oil
  • Red meat, especially liver
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Fortified plant milks
  • Fortified meat substitutes
  • Fortified orange juice
  • Fortified breakfast cereals
  • Mushrooms

Click here for more advice on vitamin D, what it does, and how to keep your levels up.

The final say

  • A vitamin D deficiency can severely impact your life, so it’s important that you get tested if you start to experience symptoms or are in a high-risk group
  • Vitamin D supports the immune system and helps us maintain healthy bones, teeth and muscles
  • You usually find vitamin D in red meat, fish, dairy, eggs and fortified milks / breakfast cereals/mock meats
  • Vegans, vegetarians and people with darker skin, who don’t go out in the sun a lot or cover a lot of skin when they do are all at a higher risk of vitamin D deficiency
  • A blood test is usually used to check vitamin D levels, which you can get from your Dr or order to complete at home from private companies
  • If you opt for an at-home vitamin D test, make sure they are reputable and used professionally accredited laboratories to test your sample
  • Always consult your doctor if you suspect or discover you are deficient in vitamin D, as they can help find the cause and the best treatment for you
The advice in this article is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP or healthcare professional before trying any supplements, treatments or remedies. Food supplements must not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.

Last updated: 20 January 2022

Related Articles

  • Visa
  • MasterCard
  • PayPal
  • AmericanExpress
  • ApplePay
  • ClearPay
  • AliPay
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
Copyright © Holland & Barrett Retail Limited, 2024. All rights reserved. hollandandbarrett.com is a trading name of Holland & Barrett Retail Limited,. Registered office: Samuel Ryder House, Barling Way, Nuneaton, Warwickshire CV10 7RH. Registered in England: company no. 2758955. Registered VAT no. 211727395.