Public Health England (PHE) has advised the government that we need 10 micrograms of vitamin D a day in order to help keep our bones, teeth and muscles healthy, based on the recommendations of the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) after its review of the evidence on vitamin D and health.
Vitamin D is made in the skin by the action of sunlight which is the main source of vitamin D. A healthy, balanced diet and the sun result in most people getting all the vitamin D they need in the spring and summer months. In the autumn and winter however, everyone will need to consider taking a supplement if you don’t eat enough foods that naturally contain vitamin D or are fortified with it. People 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. People with darker skin may not get enough vitamin D from sunlight in the summer and should consider taking a supplement throughout the year.
Vitamin D can be found naturally in some foods including oily fish, red meat, liver and egg yolks and in fortified food like breakfast cereals and fat spreads.
Children who are aged between 1 and 4 years should have a daily 10 microgram vitamin D supplement. While it is recommended that babies are breastfed, breast milk does not contain the recommended amount of Vitamin D, therefore a supplement may be required. As a precaution, 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.