New advice from Public Health England (PHE) has recommended many of us take vitamin D supplements during the autumn and winter.1
Government research has suggested that roughly one in five people have low vitamin D levels, and so PHE has advised all adults and children over the age of one to take 10 micrograms of vitamin D every day during the autumn and winter months. People with a higher risk of vitamin D deficiency, including children aged between one and four, have been advised to use supplements all year round.
There is also a suggestion that babies take between 8.5 and 10 micrograms of vitamin D supplement as a precaution. However, babies who have around a pint of infant formula a day will not need a supplement as the formula is fortified.
Vitamin D is needed to help control the amount of calcium and phosphate in our bodies, which is needed for healthy bones, muscles and teeth.
Our main source of vitamin D is sunlight on our skin, but it is difficult to get the sunlight we need during the colder period of the year. Vitamin D can also be found in a small amount of foods such as oily fish, red meat, egg yolks, liver and fortified breakfast cereal or fat spreads.
Vitamin D supplements can be found at most supermarkets and chemists.
1 Vitamin D and health report (PDF, 4.2Mb). SACN, 2016
Tuck into tuna, salmon and eggs or take vitamin D pills - official health advice. The Guardian, July 21 2016
EVERYONE should take Vitamin D: Health chiefs warn millions are at risk of deficiency. Express, July 21 2016
Experts recommend everyone consider vitamin D supplements over winter. Mail Online, July 21 2016
Think vitamin pills are a waste of time? This is the one you really SHOULD take, says the government. The Sun, July 21 2016