There is a wide range of vitamin supplements on the market, but do you really need to include them in your diet? According to health experts, most people should get all the vitamins they need through a healthy, balanced diet, eliminating the need to take additional supplements. If you have a deficiency in a particular vitamin, however, you may need to take supplements in order to get adequate amounts. Despite this, experts do advise people take supplements for one particular vitamin, because most people will be at risk of becoming deficient in it during the autumn and winter months. This vitamin is vitamin D.
Vitamin D helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body – nutrients which are needed to keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy.
A lack of vitamin D can lead to a deficiency, which can cause bone deformities and bone pain.
The main source of vitamin D is sunlight, which provides enough of the vitamin for most people in the UK in the spring and summer.
The body creates vitamin D from direct sunlight, when the sun shines on the skin when outdoors.
However, in the autumn and winter, there is not enough sunlight for most people in the UK to get adequate levels of the essential vitamin.
Vitamin D is found in some foods, such as oily fish, red meat, liver, egg yolks and fortified foods.
However, the vitamin D found in food is not usually enough to get the recommended 10 micrograms per day.
For this reason, the UK Department of Health recommends everyone consider taking a vitamin D supplement during the colder months.
If you choose to take vitamin D supplements, 10 micrograms a day will be enough for most people.
Don’t take more than 100 micrograms of vitamin D a day as it could be harmful.
“Taking too many vitamin D supplements over a long period of time can cause too much calcium to build up in the body,” warned the NHS.
“This can weaken the bones and damage the kidneys and the heart.”
People who don’t get out in the sun much in the spring and summer may wish to take vitamin D supplements all year round.
This includes people who are housebound, live in care homes or who just don’t go outside much.
It also includes people who usually wear clothes that cover up most of the skin when outdoors, as this prevents the skin from being able to absorb the vitamin.
In addition, people with dark skin from African, African-Caribbean and south Asian backgrounds may also not get enough vitamin D from sunlight and may too wish to consider taking supplements all year round.