Vitamin D Health Benefits and Deficiency risk

Where do we get vitamin D from?
Direct sunlight on to the skin, includes the main source of Vitamin D especially during sunny
months starting from April up till September. Other naturally occurring sources of Vitamin
D include oily fish, for example, mackerel, salmon and sardines as well as egg yolk and
red meat. Breakfast cereals, infant formula and non-dairy milk alternatives have added
vitamin D.

What does vitamin D do?
Vitamin D3 plays an important role in supporting a healthy, balanced immune system.
Low vitamin D levels, which are common amongst the UK population, particularly during
winter, may compromise our immune response and leave us at risk of infection.
Because it helps to balance the immune system, it is important for those with over-active
immune systems too. It is also needed for bone health - without it, our bodies cannot
absorb calcium which is critical for strong bones and is needed for muscle function. This
is important in older people who may be more at risk of falling, a risk factor for fractures.
It is also very important for the normal growth & development of bones in children.

Who is at risk of vitamin D deficiency?
Between October and March, everyone in the UK is at risk of low levels of vitamin D. This is because
we cannot generate enough vitamin D through sunlight in those months, and
it is very difficult to consume the needed amounts through food. It is thought that as little as 10% of
our vitamin D intake comes from the food we eat. Supplementation with 400iu (10mcg)
is recommended to adults and children over the age of one, particularly during the
autumn and winter months; and groups at risk of deficiency such as those who have
little or no exposure to the sun, are recommended to supplement all year round. It is very important to consult your doctor before taking any supplements.