Why is a vitamin D supplement essential to take?
Vitamin D supplement helps to regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body.
These nutrients are needed to keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy.
A lack of vitamin D can lead to bone deformities such as rickets in children, and bone pain and tenderness as a result of a condition called osteomalacia in adults.
Good sources of vitamin D
From about late March/April to the end of September, most of us should be able to get all the vitamin D we need from sunlight on our skin.
The vitamin is made by our body under the skin in reaction to sunlight. Between October and early March we don’t get any vitamin D from sunlight.
Vitamin D is also found in a small number of foods. Good food sources are:
- oily fish – such as salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel
- red meat
- egg yolks
- fortified foods such as most fat spreads and some breakfast cereals
Another source of vitamin D is dietary supplements.
Advice for adults and children over five years old
Because vitamin D is found only in a small number of foods, it might be difficult to get enough from foods that naturally contain vitamin D and/or fortified foods alone.
So everyone, including pregnant and breastfeeding women, should consider taking a daily supplement containing 10mcg of vitamin D.
Between late March/April to the end of September, the majority of people aged five years and above will probably obtain sufficient vitamin D from sunlight when they are outdoors. So you might choose not to take a vitamin D supplement during these months.
However, some groups of people will not get enough vitamin D from sunlight because they have very little or no sunshine exposure. So the Department of Health recommends that people should take a daily supplement containing 10mcg of vitamin D throughout the year if they:
- are not often outdoors, such as those who are frail or housebound
- are in an institution such as a care home
- usually wear clothes that cover up most of their skin when outdoors
People from minority ethnic groups with dark skin, such as those of African, African-Caribbean or South Asian origin, might not get enough vitamin D from sunlight – so they should consider taking a daily supplement containing 10mcg of vitamin D throughout the year.
*Information supplied by the NHS