Vitamin D helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body. These nutrients are needed to keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy. A lack of vitamin D can lead to bone deformities such as rickets in children, and bone pain caused by a condition called osteomalacia in adults.
Coronavirus Update - consider taking 10 micrograms of vitamin D a day to keep your bones and muscles healthy. This is because you may not be getting enough vitamin D from sunlight if you're indoors most of the day. There have been some news reports about vitamin D reducing the risk of coronavirus. However, there is currently not enough evidence to support this. Do not buy more vitamin D than you need.
Good sources of vitamin D
From about late March/early April to the end of September, most people should be able to get all the vitamin D they need from sunlight.
The body creates vitamin D from direct sunlight on the skin when outdoors. But between October and early March we do not get enough vitamin D from sunlight.
Vitamin D is also found in a small number of foods.
Another source of vitamin D is dietary supplements.
In the UK, cows' milk is generally not a good source of vitamin D because it is not fortified, as it is in some other countries.
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 from the age of 1 year and adults need 10 micrograms of vitamin D a day. This includes pregnant and breastfeeding women, and people at risk of vitamin D deficiency.From about late March/early April to the end of September, the majority of people should be able to get all the vitamin D they need from sunlight on their skin.A microgram is 1,000 times smaller than a milligram (mg). The word microgram is sometimes written with the Greek symbol μ followed by the letter g (μg).Sometimes the amount of vitamin D is expressed as International Units (IU). 1 microgram of vitamin D is equal to 40 IU. So 10 micrograms of vitamin D is equal to 400 IU.
Should I take a vitamin D supplement? - Advice for adults and children over 4 years old
During the autumn and winter, you need to get vitamin D from your diet because the sun is not strong enough for the body to make vitamin D.
But since it's difficult for people to get enough vitamin D from food alone, everyone (including pregnant and breastfeeding women) should consider taking a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D during the autumn and winter.
Between late March/early April to the end of September, most people can get all the vitamin D they need through sunlight on their skin and from a balanced diet.
You may choose not to take a vitamin D supplement during these months.
People at risk of vitamin D deficiency
Some people will not get enough vitamin D from sunlight because they have very little or no sunshine exposure.
The Department of Health and Social Care recommends that you take a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D throughout the year if you:
If you have dark skin – for example you have an African, African-Caribbean or south Asian background – you may also not get enough vitamin D from sunlight.
You should consider taking a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D throughout the year.
The NHS UK website has information and advice on vitamin D and above is an excerpt of it, click here for the full information