In 2016 the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) released their new report on vitamin D. In this report, they concluded that all adults in the UK should consider taking vitamin D supplements in the winter months (1).
What Is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin which is important for healthy bones, teeth and muscles.
An inadequate vitamin D intake can put you at risk of a bone condition called osteomalacia (2).
Vitamin D From Food (2)
You can get vitamin D from several food sources, as shown in the list below. You should aim to have a variety of these is your diet. However, it is difficult to get enough vitamin D every single day through diet alone.
Those who are vegetarian or vegan may struggle more with their vitamin D intake and may be more reliant on a supplement.
- Fortified foods (e.g. margarines/ fortified cereals)
- Egg yolks
- Red meat
- Oily fish
Vitamin D Supplements
Between October and April, SACN have advised adults consider taking a vitamin D supplement – 10 micrograms/ day (1). This is because there is not enough sunlight to synthesise vitamin D and achieving enough dietary intake through food alone would be very difficult.
Although, as a dietitian, I dislike the idea of taking any nutritional supplement, vitamin D really is one of the few I actually recommend quite regularly.
What About Getting Vitamin D From The Sun?
At present, there are no precise recommendations for sunlight exposure in order for your body to make enough vitamin D as there are so many factors involved, it would be impossible to make 1 general recommendation.
Prolonged sun exposure can also lead to skin cancer and so promoting spending more time in the sun with little to no skin protection is hardly ideal.
- Between October and April, in the UK, all adults are advised to take a 10 micrograms/day vitamin D supplement.
- Check your current supplements to avoid overdosing as they may already contain some vitamin D.