Do I Really Need to Take a Vitamin D Supplement?

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Vitamin D is an important micronutrient, essential for bone health, immune function, and resistance to certain diseases. Many doctors recommend supplementing your body’s natural vitamin D production with a daily supplement. Vitamin D supplements are relatively cheap and widely available. But is it really necessary?

How Much Vitamin D Do You Need?

The recommended daily amount of vitamin D that you need for optimum health is 10 micrograms (also written as 40IU). Babies under the age of 1 need between 8.5 and 10 micrograms.

Where Does Vitamin D Come From?

As well as supplements, our bodies naturally produce vitamin D through exposure to sunlight. Vitamin D can also be found in foods such as oily fish, red meat, liver, egg yolks and fortified foods.

Who Should Take a Vitamin D Supplement?

Doctors recommend that EVERYONE should take a vitamin D supplement for at least the autumn and winter months. Certain groups should also take a vitamin D supplement throughout the year. These include…

  • People who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • People don’t get outside often (e.g. who are frail or housebound).
  • People who wear clothes that cover most of their skin when outside.
  • People with darker skin, such as from an African, Afro-Caribbean or South Asian background.
  • Babies and toddlers up to 4 years old.

The Verdict

Taking a vitamin D supplement during the colder seasons is an easy way to make sure your body has enough of this essential nutrient. Anyone in the above groups should consider taking vitamin D all year round!