Nearly all of our vitamin D is made in our body from sunlight so if you’re in one of the groups mentioned on this page then it might be time to get advice from your pharmacist or GP.
But why do you need vitamin D? Vitamin D is important as it helps the body absorb calcium for building strong bones and teeth. The majority of this vitamin is made from the action of sunlight on our skin, as well as a small amount from the foods we eat.
And you might not be surprised to hear that vitamin D deficiency is mostly due to not getting enough intensity of sunlight in this country.
So who is at increased risk of vitamin D deficiency?
Some people have a higher risk of vitamin D deficiency. People in the following groups may not be getting enough vitamin D:
There are people who have an increased need for vitamin D, such as:
People who may be unable to make enough vitamin D from sunlight include:
People who may not get enough dietary vitamin D are:
That’s me – what can I do?
You can ask your pharmacist or GP about vitamin D and if you’re pregnant or have young children your midwife or health visitor will be able to give you advice.
1. How much time does someone need to spend in the sun to make sure that their body can produce enough vitamin D?
A A few minutes each day during the summer months, around midday
B Everyone needs to get out and sunbathe for as long as possible
C It doesn’t matter as long as they eat a healthy, balanced diet
2. When should you put on sunscreen on a sunny day?
A When your skin feels hot and starts to go red
B After a few minutes in the sun but before you start to turn red or burn
C Before you leave the house
3. How much skin needs to be exposed to sunlight for it to be able to make enough vitamin D?
A Face and forearms with sunscreen
B As much as possible!
C Face and forearms without sunscreen
4. Which of the following groups of food do not contain vitamin D?
A Foods that are fortified such as margarine, some breakfast cereals, and infant formula
B Fruit and vegetables
C Animal fats such as oily fish, liver and some dairy products
5. What can people who cover their skin for cultural reasons, work nights or who are housebound do to make sure they get enough vitamin D?
A Ask their pharmacist about a suitable supplement they could take
B There is nothing they can do
C Try to eat more fruit and vegetables