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The sunshine vitamin: what everyone needs to know about vitamin D

With summer in full swing you may already know that we make vitamin D in our skin by spending time in the sun. Did you know that vitamin D is essential to absorb enough calcium? Deficiency of vitamin D causes rickets (a bone malformity) and osteoporosis (brittle bones)


What foods contain vitamin D?


Dietary sources contribute just 10% of our vitamin D. Good sources include oily fish, liver and fortified foods such as breakfast cereals, margarine and mushrooms.


How much vitamin D do I need?


Government guidelines recommend a vitamin D supplement of 10 micrograms a day to infants over the age of one years and in adults particularly during autumn and winter. Some people at high risk of deficiency might need to take a supplement all year round.


Who is at risk of vitamin D deficiency?


High risk groups include babies and young children and adolescents who spend little time outdoors, pregnant and breastfeeding women, people over 65 years old, those of ethnic/Asian background and those whose skin is covered for cultural or other reasons.


Here are interesting facts about vitamin D


Approximately one in five people have low vitamin D in the UK. Vitamin D is naturally found in some foods of animal origin including oily fish, red meat, liver and egg yolk. We also get it from foods that are fortified including breakfast cereal and margarine.Vitamin D is also produced through the action of sunlight on our skin, especially between April and October when the sun is at its strongest.Vitamin D helps us to absorb calcium and build strong healthy bones, teeth and muscle.Unfortunately we can’t get enough vitamin D through food alone, and that’s why the government are now recommending that we consider taking a daily supplement providing 10mcg of vitamin D, especially during autumn and winter.




Further reading: Go to NHS choices website for further information on vitamin D.

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