People should consider taking daily vitamin D supplements during the winter, new guidance released by Public Health England (PHE) said.
The advice is based on the recommendations of the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) following its review of the evidence on vitamin D and health.
PHE advises that during the spring and summer months, most people tend to get enough vitamin D through sunlight and their diets. However during winter, when people are reliant on their diets, they may not meet the 10microgram recommendation so should consider a daily supplement.
Dr Louise Levy, head of nutrition science at PHE, also stated that those who 'don’t get out in the sun or always cover their skin when they do, should take a vitamin D supplement throughout the year.'
Ethnic minority groups with dark skin, from African Afro-Caribbean and South Asian backgrounds may not get enough from sunlight so should consider taking a supplement throughout the year. Children aged one to four years should also have a daily microgram vitamin D supplement.
Vitamin D supplements are available free-of-charge for low-income families on the Healthy Start Scheme.
Vitamin D regulates the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body, both needed for healthy bones, teeth and muscles. It is found naturally in a small number of foods including oily fish, red meat, liver and egg yolks and in fortified food like breakfast cereals and fat spreads.