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The future of Vitamin D Consumption

The future of Vitamin D Consumption

Vitamin D is synthesised in the skin by the direct action of sunlight. This is the primary source for the majority of the population; dietary sources are another method by which we can acquire Vitamin D however these means are very limited and are not always an option for many of us due to dietary choices. Another limiting factor in regards to obtaining sufficient Vitamin D consumption is sunlight exposure and the lack thereof i.e. the summer in the UK! Meaning that many of the population in areas situated in higher latitudes (reduced exposure to sunlight) may result in insufficient or even deficient Vitamin D levels!

What is Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin which primarily aids in the regulation of Calcium and Phosphate metabolism which are vital in the maintenance of a strong skeletal structure and the prevention of deteriorating bone health in later life.

It is primarily known for the mechanisms involved in bone mineralisation and calcium homeostasis; increasing bone density and thus reducing the risk of problems in the future.

Vitamin D = Stronger Bones = Healthier Bones = Healthier You


What are the dietary sources of Vitamin D?

·       Oily Fish

·       Red Meat

·       Liver

·       Egg yolks

·       Fortified foods (fat spreads, breakfasts)

As you can see there aren’t many dietary sources of Vitamin D and many sources are not consumed by a large proportion of the population. Find Vitamin D supplements here in our webshop.

How much Vitamin D do we need?

Now this is where it gets rather interesting, The Committee on Medical Aspects of Food and Nutrition Policy (COMA), which set Dietary Reference Values for vitamin D in 1991, did not set a Reference Nutrient Intake for groups in the population considered to receive adequate sunlight exposure. It was assumed that, for most people, the amount of vitamin D produced by sunlight during the summer months would be sufficient in producing enough vitamin D for the winter period.

This has recently been revisited by the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) and they have advised the Public Health of England (PHE) that individuals in the UK may not be receiving sufficient levels of vitamin D in the summer months and a Dietary Reference Value of 10µg/day be advised for those who are not already in the at risk section of the population.

At risk groups

·       Pregnant/lactating women

·       Infants and children under the age of 5 years of age

·       Older people aged 65 years and over

·       People who have low or no exposure to the sun


The link below is report provided by The Department of Health on advice for at risk groups in regards to vitamin D:

The Department of Health states that adults in the UK have an average dietary intake of Vitamin D of approximately 3µg/day and it ranges from around 0.5 – 8µg/day; if this is all that is being consumed during the autumn and winter months then we have a high risk of becoming vitamin D insufficient which can result in detrimental effects to our health.

During the summer months in the UK the majority of the population will receive adequate vitamin D consumption through dietary means and sunlight exposure. However throughout the autumn and winter months a daily recommendation of 10µg supplement is advised for all members of the UK population*; to ensure optimum health as dietary means will be the primary source of this vital vitamin throughout these cold sunless seasons.

People whose skin has little or no exposure to the sun, like those in institutions such as care homes, or who always cover their skin when outside, risk vitamin D deficiency and need to take a supplement throughout the year. Ethnic minority groups with dark skin, from African, Afro-Caribbean and South Asian backgrounds, may not get enough vitamin D from sunlight in the summer and therefore should consider taking a supplement all year round.

*all babies under 1 year should have a daily 8.5 to 10 microgram vitamin D supplement to ensure they get enough. Children who have more than 500ml of infant formula a day do not need any additional vitamin D as formula is already fortified. Vitamin D Baby drops can be found here.

To read the full report and for a review of the scientific evidence provided by SACN the link is posted below:

Vitamin D deficiency

So what happens if you do not have a sufficient amount of Vitamin D? Well as you can imagine it is primarily directed towards the health of bones; some of the problems that can arise due to vitamin D insufficiency/deficiency:

·       Hyperparathyroidism (overly active parathyroid glands)

·       Bone loss

·       Osteopenia (protein and mineral content of bone tissue is reduced)

·       Osteomalacia (softening of bones)

·       Osteoporosis

·       Rickets (prevalent in children)

I an ideal world we’d just aim to get more sunshine; go on holiday more, spend more time outdoors, live somewhere warmer! But for now UK residents make sure you get the sun while you can and take supplements when you can’t.  Find the full range of supplements here.