VITAMIN D deficiency can happen to many people over the winter months as we lack enough sunlight to absorb the vitamin naturally. UK health officials advise taking supplements during the winter, but how much should you take every day?

Vitamin D helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body.

Calcium and phosphate are needed to keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy, and a lack of these nutrients can lead to bone deformities and bone pain.

During the spring and summer months, most people in the UK/Scandinavia should be able to get all the vitamin D they need from sunlight.

But how much vitamin D do you need?

According to the NHS, all children from the age of one year and adults need 10 micrograms of vitamin D per day.

During the spring and summer this should be obtained naturally from the sun, but in the autumn and winter health officials advise taking supplements.

“During the autumn and winter, you need to get vitamin D from your diet because the sun isn’t strong enough for the body to make vitamin D,” said the NHS.

“But since it’s difficult for people to get enough vitamin D from food alone, everyone should consider taking a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D during the autumn and winter.”

Aside from supplements, foods containing vitamin D include oily fish, red meat, liver, egg yolks and fortified foods.

Some people, who are less exposed to the sun during the warmer months, are advised to take vitamin D supplements all year round, including in the summer.

This includes people who aren’t often outdoors, for example those who are frail or housebound, and people who live in an institution like a care home.

People who usually wear clothes that cover up most of the skin when outdoors are also advised to take vitamin D supplements.

In addition, people with dark skin from African, African-Caribbean and south Asian backgrounds may also not get enough vitamin D from sunlight, according to the NHS.

If taking vitamin D supplements, it’s important to ensure you don’t take too much, as this can lead to a condition called hypercalcaemia.

Hypercalcaemia happens when too much calcium builds up in the body, and can weaken the bones and damage the kidneys and heart.

The NHS warns adults and children aged between 11 and 17 years not to take more than 100 micrograms of vitamin D a day.

Children aged one to 10 years should take no more than 50 micrograms a day, while infants under 12 months shouldn’t take more than 25 micrograms per day.

“If you choose to take vitamin D supplements, 10 micrograms a day will be enough for most people,” said the NHS.

Reference: Sundayexpress, Internet, Senator Medical, Medisenator Sweden

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