Official estimates suggest one in five adults and one in six children in England may have vitamin D3 deficiency.
Vitamin D is an essential fat soluble vitamin that contributes to the maintenance of normal bones, teeth and muscles*. It is used to support the normal function of the immune system and the process of cell division.* Vitamin D also is required for the normal absorption and utilisation of calcium and phosphorous, and normal blood calcium levels.*
For most people, the bulk of their required vitamin D3 is made from the action of sunlight on their skin. Sunlight contains ultraviolet B radiation. During and after the European summer, levels of vitamin D3 in the blood are a bit higher and sometimes scientifically ‘normal’. A healthy, balanced diet is always recommended and with exposure to summer sunshine, many people may get enough of the vitamin D they need.
However, during autumn and winter, sunlight is in short supply, particularly in the northern European countries.
People are also at risk of vitamin D deficiency and need extra help with reaching those vitamin D targets because they have dark skin, are elderly living in care homes, or wear clothing that cover most the skin, which effects conversion of sunlight to vitamin D.
Unfortunately having more sunshine until you burn is not a safe option of getting more vitamin D made in the body. You must wear sunscreen in the UK.
Government report on vitamin D supplements:
- Everyone over the age of four should take 10 micrograms of vitamin D every day, particularly in Autumn and Winter.
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women and at-risk groups should take 10 micrograms of vitamin D per day all year round
- Children between the age of one and four should take 10 micrograms of vitamin D supplements every day, all year round
- All babies from birth up to one year of age should take 8.5 to 10 micrograms of vitamin D per day (particularly those being breastfed).
Treating vitamin D deficiency requires far higher doses.
In addition of course, limited amounts of the vitamin are found in foods such as oily fish, liver, eggs, milk, fortified cereals and fat spreads with added vitamin D. Unfortunately however, it would be near impossible for us to obtain high enough levels of vitamin D through diet without supplementation.
Altruvita vitamin D contains 25 micrograms in 1 vegetarian capsule.
* EU REGISTERS ON NUTRITION AND HEALTH CLAIMS