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Do You Need To Take Vitamin D Supplements?

New government advice in the UK says everyone should be getting 10 micrograms of vitamin D per day.

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  1. Correct
    No, I live somewhere much sunnier
    No, but I live somewhere that gets even less sun
  2. Correct
    Yes, loads
    A bit, but not every day
    I never eat those

A new report from Public Health England says that everyone in the UK over the age of 1 should get 10 micrograms of vitamin D per day.

It also says that this level of the vitamin is difficult to get "from natural food sources alone", and that the government should consider ways to get the UK population to consume this new recommended amount.

Foods that naturally contain high levels of vitamin D include "oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring and sardines, as well as red meat and eggs", according to the NHS. It is added to some foods, like cereals and milk alternatives, and it's also added to all infant formula milk.

Dr Louis Levy, head of nutritional science at PHE, said:

"During the autumn and winter our only source of vitamin D is our diet and it’s actually quite difficult to meet the recommended levels from food alone so it’s worth everyone considering a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D."

Your body also makes vitamin D when exposed to sunlight, but the amount varies depending on a few factors.

Myung Jung Kim / EMPICS Sports Photo Agency

Some people should consider taking a supplement in the summer too, Levy said.

People with dark skin tones may not make enough vitamin D in the summer from sunlight, so might need a supplement all year round. And people who stay indoors or completely cover up when they go outside should consider a year-round supplement too, according to the new advice. Same goes for anyone who is extremely diligent when it comes to applying sunscreen.

Low levels of vitamin D can lead to rickets in children and to something called osteomalacia in adults, which causes bone pain and muscle weakness.

But there are some medical conditions that can make it dangerous to take too much vitamin D, so you should always speak to your doctor if you're unsure.

TL;DR: If you live in the UK, you should consider taking a vitamin D supplement. ☀️

Get the NHS advice on vitamin D here.

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