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Do I need a vitamin D supplement?

Recently there has been much talk about if we need to supplement our vitamin D intake.  In the UK there is to say the least a shortage of bright sunny days (especially for those of us who live in Manchester).  The big problem in the UK is the limited number of sunlight hours, and this can then effect how much Vitamin D that we produce.

When we go out in sunlight the body stats to produce vitamin D from the UV rays from the sun.  This stock of vitamin D can then be stored within the body to be used as and when needed.  In winter time this vital source of vitamin D may be severely lacking, this has led to a move towards supplementation particularly in winter months.

The following groups of people may be at an increased risk of deficiency:-

  • People who spend little time in the sun or those who regularly cover up when outdoors;
  • People living in nursing homes or other institutions or who are homebound;
  • People with certain medical conditions such as Celiac disease and inflammatory bowel disease;
  • People taking medicines that affect vitamin D levels such as certain anti-seizure medicines;
  • People with very dark skin;
  • Obese or very overweight people; and
  • Older adults with certain risk factors

Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin that is responsable for the effective absorption of calcium that helps maintain strong bones and teeth and also acts to support a strong immune system.  The current recommendations are that individuals under the age of 50 take approximately 10 micrograms per day.  The maximum recommended dose is 50 micrograms per day.

For the average person it is possible to get all the vitamin D needed from a healthy diet and some moderate sun exposure.  However an increasing number of people are supplementing this vital vitamin, due to poorer dietary habits and limited sun exposure.

It is possible to get vitamin D from the foods that we eat, the following foods contain small amounts of vitamin D:-

  • oily fish, such as salmon, sardines and mackerel
  • eggs
  • fortified fat spreads
  • fortified breakfast cereals
  • powdered milk

If you are unsure if you need a vitamin D supplement or if you have any questions please feel free to post them below!


This entry was posted on Wednesday, June 26th, 2013 at 9:54 am and is filed under Articles. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.