Can You Get Vitamin D On A Cloudy Day?

Vitamin D is both a nutrient that can be gained from certain types of food and a hormone that is naturally produced in our bodies when we spend time under the sun.

But as not many foods contain vitamin D, the best way to top up our vitamin D levels is to get outside as much as you can when the sun is shining. 

But what if it's cloudy? Can we still get vitamin D on a cloudy day? This is something we will consider in this blog post.

What Is Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is produced when we are directly exposed to sunlight. We can also get this vitamin from certain types of foods and supplements. 

Why do we need Vitamin D? For many reasons. For one thing, Vitamin D regulates the absorption of phosphorous and calcium which is necessary for the growth and repair of our bones and teeth. 

Other benefits of Vitamin D include:

  • Better immunity: Vitamin D helps the immune system fight off bacteria and infections, so can prevent us from feeling sick on a too regular basis. 
  • Mood boosting: Vitamin D corresponds with the neurotransmitters that encourage the release of serotonin (also known as the happy hormone), so we are less likely to experience low moods and negative emotions. Of course, while Vitamin D can make you happier you might still need to speak to a health professional if you are experiencing specific mental health difficulties. 
  • Weight loss: Vitamin D helps to produce leptin, the hormone that inhibits hunger and reduces fat storage in our bodies. 

So, for improved health, you should make sure you get your daily dose of vitamin D. Of course, the question you might be asking is this one: How much vitamin D do I need? 

Well, if you're an adult and you are under the age of 70, the recommended quantity of vitamin D is 15mcg a day. 

If you're over 70 or if you're a pregnant woman, the recommended quantity of vitamin D is 20mcg a day. 

To learn more, this guide on how much vitamin D you should have will give you all you need to know.

How Do We Get Vitamin D From Sunlight?

When the sun's UV rays hit your skin, they interact with a protein called 7-DHC and this causes Vitamin D to be produced in your body. 

As such, you should spend some time outdoors when it is sunny to experience the benefits of the vitamin.

However, a number of factors can affect how much vitamin D we get from sunlight. These include:

  • Skin colour: Studies have shown that people with darker skin pigmentation are more likely to become vitamin D deficient than those with pale skin. This is because they need more exposure to the sun before the processes within the body start to produce the vitamin.
  • Amount of skin exposed: The more skin that is exposed, the more vitamin D will be produced. If you regularly cover your skin when outdoors, be that for personal or religious reasons, the higher the likelihood of vitamin D deficiency. 
  • Time of day: Midday is the best time to get vitamin D as this is when the sun is at its highest point and the UV rays are the most intense. 
  • Latitude: According to some researchers, where you live could have an effect on how much vitamin D you get from the sun. People in the United States are more likely to get more in the sunny South than those living in Northern regions, for example. The jury is still out on this point but you can learn more about the research into latitude and vitamin D here

Can You Get Vitamin D On A Cloudy Day?

So, is it possible to get vitamin D on a cloudy day? 

Surprisingly yes, it is still possible to get vitamin D when it's cloudy outdoors because full-spectrum sunlight still exists beyond the clouds.

Of course, the more clouds there are in the sky, the smaller the amount of UV-A and UV-B radiation that hits the earth's surface, so your body won't produce as much vitamin D as it would on a cloudless day. 

That being said, if the clouds are broken and thin rather than thick and heavy, 90% of UV rays can pass through, as is discussed here. As such, you will be able to get a sufficient top-up of vitamin D.

As the sun's UV rays are more powerful during midday, this could be the best time to step outside, even when there are thick clouds in the sky.

 If the clouds are thin and you go for a walk during midday, be mindful of sunburn as the UV rays are as intense as they are on a clear day.

Other Ways In Which You Can Get Vitamin D

Sunny days are the best days for a vitamin D boost, but when it's cloudy or if you aren't able to spend time outdoors, there are still other ways to get vitamin D.

You can:

  • Take vitamin D supplements
  • Enjoy our own vitamin D drink that’s bursting with vitamin D and flavour.
  • Consume foods that contain vitamin D, such as red meat and fatty fish. Mushrooms, egg yolks, and fortified breakfast cereals are good sources of vitamin D for vegetarians.

For more advice, check our article on ways to boost vitamin D levels


It might be cloudy outside, but that doesn't mean you can't get your daily intake of vitamin D. 

Spend some time outdoors, especially at midday, to experience the most benefits. And consider the other ways in which you can get vitamin D, including supplements, foods, and our range of vitamin D products are sure to help you get all the vitamin D you need.


Becky Graham

Lead Nutritionist & Communications - Get More Vits

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