Vitamin D Supplements

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).

women in the sun with vitamin D supplements

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
  • Liver
  • 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.

Avoid Overdosing

If you do decide to take a supplement then be careful not to overdose. Unlike water soluble vitamins such as vitamin C, vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin. This means that too much can build up inside your body causing weak bones and kidney problems.
To avoid overdosing get advice from a registered dietitian and take steps to check any supplements you may already be taking (especially cod liver oil).

Key Points

  1. Between October and April, in the UK, all adults are advised to take a 10 micrograms/day vitamin D supplement.
  2. Check your current supplements to avoid overdosing as they may already contain some vitamin D.

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