Vitamin D

Vitamin D is made by our skin from sunlight and is also found in small amounts in some foods.

Good food sources are oily fish and eggs.  Other food sources include fortified foods such as breakfast cereals and spreads. 

What does it do?

Vitamin D has a number of important functions. For example it helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body, and calcium and phosphate are needed to help keep bones and teeth healthy.

What is our advice?

Since vitamin D is found in only a small number of foods, in Scotland everyone aged 5 years and above should consider taking a daily supplement of 10µg of vitamin D, particularly during the winter months (October – March). Children aged 1-4 years of age should be given a daily supplement containing 10µg of vitamin D.

As a precaution breastfed babies from birth up to one year of age should also be given a supplement of 8.5 to 10μg vitamin D per day.  Babies who are formula fed do not require vitamin D if they are having 500ml/day of infant formula or more, as infant formula already has added vitamin D.

It is recommended that those at greatest risk of vitamin D deficiency take a daily supplement all year round.  These groups include:

  • pregnant and breastfeeding mothers  
  • children under 5 years of age
  • people who are not exposed to much sunlight, such as frail or housebound individuals, or those that cover their skin for cultural reasons; and 
  • people from minority ethnic groups with dark skin such as those of African, African-Caribbean and South Asian origin, because they require more sun exposure to make as much   vitamin D. 

Ask your GP if you want more information.

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