Vitamin D is important for keeping our bones, teeth and muscles healthy, as it regulates the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body.
During the warmer months (late March through to early September) our bodies should make enough vitamin D from exposure to the sunlight. But, during the colder months (October through to early March) we need to seek our vitamin D source from elsewhere. One way we can do this is by taking supplements or consuming foods that contain vitamin D.
Foods with vitamin D include:
• Oily fish – including salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel
• Red meat
• Egg yolks
• Fortified foods – such as some fat spreads, breakfast cereals and plant based milks
However, it’s important to note that while these foods contain vitamin D, it is only very small amounts and you'll never be able to make enough vitamin D from scoffing these foods alone. This is why it’s best to take supplements as your main source when the sun isn’t shining.
How much Vitamin D do I need?
During those warmer months your body should be able to make enough vitamin D from the sunlight on your skin and a nutritious, balanced diet, but during the autumn and winter the sun just isn’t strong enough and foods with vitamin D don’t contain enough of it. Therefore, the NHS recommends that adults should take 10 micrograms of vitamin D a day.
A lack of vitamin D can lead to bone pain and deformities, but equally too much can lead to too much calcium building up in the body (known as hypercalcaemia), which can damage your kidneys and heart and weaken the bones.