Winter Health Vitamin D advice

Vitamin D

Below is an infographic which provides advice and guidance on vitamin D supplementation over the winter months .

Infographic - content below

During winter the sun leaves Scotland in the shadows and there is not enough UVB rays to stimulate vitamin D production.

If you have been advised to take a vitamin D supplement by one of the Institute Doctors, it is important to take it at the recommended dose and frequency to improve or maintain your vitamin D levels over winter.

Recommended doses

Athletes over the age of 18 and staff should consider supplementing with 2000iu of Vitamin D per day from October until the end of March from either a pharmaceutical grade supplement or batch tested source. Athletes under the age of 18 should consider supplementing with 400iu of Vitamin D, again between October and the end of March from a pharmaceutical grade supplement. If unsure speak to a member of the Institute medical or nutrition team. Do not exceed these doses as larger doses could be harmful to your health.

Vitamin D is important for:

  • healthy bones
  • muscle function
  • normal cell function
  • supporting immune function

How to Optimise Vitamin D

  1. Increase consumption of foods high in vitamin D like fortified cereals, egg yolks, fortified milk, oily fish such as sardines, mackerel and salmon.
  2. If you are lucky enough to go on holiday in the winter months to a warm destination, make the most of sun exposure for short periods of 15 minutes to maximise vitamin D production and minimise sun burn.



WINTER 2023-4 VITAMIN D Guidance

Please note below two Vitamin D supplements that could be considered for use over the winter months.

Current advice is to supplement with Vitamin D over the winter months when we know that there is insufficient sunlight at
the correct angle to improve Vitamin D status.

As we head into the winter months when we know there is more coughs, colds and flu, it is important to support your
immune function with good nutrition by having a balanced approach to your nutrition. You can do this by eating a wide
variety of foods including carbohydrates, protein, fruits, vegetables which meet your energy and recovery requirements.

Research evidence suggests that both Vitamin D and probiotics (Actimel/Yakult one a day) can also help support immunity
and it is worth considering adding them to your intake.

As we no longer routinely blood test all athletes and through analysis of our existing datasets we are asking athletes (over
18’s) and staff to consider supplementing with 2000 IU of Vitamin D daily from October until end of March. For athletes
under 18 consider supplementing with 400iu of vitamin D daily from October until the end of March (as per Scottish
Government guidance).

For those under the age of 18 there isn’t a vitamin D supplement that has been batch tested that is licensed for under 18s
therefore, what we recommend is going to your local pharmacy and asking for a pharmaceutical grade vitamin D that is
listed on the BNF for children.

As with any supplement and performance sport, it is important to assess the need of taking the supplement, assess the
risk of taking it and any consequences of taking it.
Healthspan Elite produce a batch-tested version of their Vitamin D (in a 1000IU capsule) and Synergy Biologics produce
pharmaceutical grade Vit D (in a 4000IU capsule) which can be used in performance sport. The aim of any batch-testing
process is to reduce the risk of contamination with a banned substance but cannot reduce that risk completely.


Please only take the recommend dose of 2000 IU per day
check which dose of capsule you take for frequency


Order from Healthspan Elite via their website:

Elite Vitamin D3 1,000iu (

For Healthspan Elite 1000IU take 2 capsules every day i.e. 2000IU daily dose.

Please download the batch tested certificate from their website

To order from Synergy Biologics instructions below:

Sportscotland Institute of Sport supported athletes are able to get a 20%
discount on these products when they order and currently this facility is
available either by calling the Synergy Biologics sales line on 01922 705107
and quoting voucher code ELITE2023 or you can order from the website link
below using the same voucher code.

For Pro D3 4000IU take 1 capsule every second day i.e. 2000IU daily dose.

Please download the batch tested certificate from their website



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