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Dr Ellie on why people should be taking Vitamin D supplements

Your body can synthesise vitamin D organically from the sunshine just by spending time outdoors with your skin bared, landing on the nutrient’s nickname as the “sunshine” vitamin.

However, the angle of the sun from October to early March means that you need to look to other sources for a steady supply. 

This is where dietary supplements step into the rescue with their ability to replenish your levels.

But should you take vitamin D supplements on a daily basis?

Fortunately, Rob Hobson, voltaren gel pharmaprix Registered Nutritionist at Healthspan, has shared what to do.

READ MORE Six common signs you need more vitamin D in your diet

Hobson said: “In the UK, during the winter months, the angle of the sun is such that there is very little UVB radiation reaching the surface. UVB radiation is essential for the skin to produce vitamin D. 

“So, even if you’re outside, the sunlight might not be strong enough to support sufficient vitamin D synthesis during these months. 

“It is also worth noting that during the winter people tend to wear more clothing which lessens skin exposure to sunlight.”

Therefore, the Public Health England advises all adults and children over the age of one to consider vitamin D supplementation during this time.

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According to Hobson, this means you need to reach for the small pill on a daily basis to ensure you get the recommended amount.

“Everyone should take it every day during the autumn and winter months,” the nutritionist said.

Adults and children from the age of one year need 10 micrograms of vitamin D a day, which is the equivalent of 400 International Units (IU).

Hobson added that vitamin D needs to be taken regularly, but the exact timing isn’t “hugely important”.

He said: “Find a way to fit it into your daily routine by putting your supplements in a place you will visit every day such as beside your toothbrush or in the fridge next to your milk.

“Vitamin D is fat soluble so is best taken with food. Again, this just needs to fit around your schedule so you don’t forget to take it.”

While most people only need a steady dose of the sunshine vitamin in the winter months, the following at-risk groups should consider taking a supplement daily all year round:

  • Babies and young children, and children and adolescents who spend little time playing outside
  • Pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers 
  • People over 65 years old because their skin is not as good at making vitamin D 
  • People with darker skin tones – that is people of Asian, African, Afro-Caribbean and Middle Eastern descent.
  • If you always cover most of your skin when you are outside and the further north you live anyone who spends very little time outside during the summer – the housebound, shop or night shift workers.

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