What does Vitamin D do.

Vitamin D helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in your body. These nutrients are needed to keep our bones, teeth and our muscles healthy. A lack of vitamin D can lead to deformities known as rickets in children, and bone pain caused by a condition called osteomalacia in adults. (Osteomalacia is the softening of the bones due to lack of phosphate, calcium, and vitamin D.)

How do we get Vitamin D

From late March/early April to end of September, you should be able to get enough vitamin D from the Sun providing the weather has been good to us and given us a great summer.

Providing you go out in the sun the body creates vitamin D from direct sunlight on the skin.

Between the months of October and early March we do not get enough vitamin D from sunlight. Also, Vitamin D is found in a small number of foods but you probably don’t eat enough of these foods to get your daily amount that your body requires.

Sources include:

  • oily fish – such as salmon, sardines, herrings, and mackerel.
  • Red meat
  • liver
  • egg yolks
  • fortified foods – such as most fat spreads and some breakfast cereals
  • Another source of vitamin D is dietary supplements

Some countries fortify their cows milk but here in the UK we actually don’t so its not a good source of vitamin D.

How much vitamin D do I need

Babies up to the age of 1 year need 8.5 to 10 micrograms of vitamin D a day.

Children and adults need 10 micrograms of vitamin D a day.

You can buy vitamin D supplements or vitamin drops containing vitamin D (for under 5s) in many shops, including pharmacies and supermarkets.

People at risk of vitamin D deficiency

Some people will not get enough vitamin D from sunlight as they have very little or no exposure to the sun, which means you need to take a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D throughout the year if you:

  • are not often outdoors – for example, if your frail or housebound.
  • Are in an institution like a care home.
  • Usually wear clothes that cover up most of your skin when outdoors.
  • If you have dark skin – for example you have an african, African-Carabean or south Asian background – you may also not get enough vitamin D from sunlight.

Taking to much vitamin D

Taking too much vitamin D over long periods can cause too much calcium to build up in your body. This can weaken the bones and damage the kidneys and the heart.

If you do decide to take vitamin supplements, 10 micrograms a day is enough for most people. Do not take more than 100 micrograms of vitamin D a day as this could be harmful.

Of course depending if you have a medical condition and you could be on medication it is possible you may not be able to take vitamin D, if in doubt please consult your Doctor first. If your Doctor advices you to take a different amount of vitamin D, you need to follow your Doctors advice.

You cannot over does on vitamin D through exposure to the sun. But remember to cover up and protect your skin if your out in the sun for a long period as this will reduce the risk of skin cancer and of course damage to your skin.