News & Updates

More than half of people living in Scotland are not taking Vitamin D supplements, Food Standards Scotland reveals

Today we have published the results of a new consumer poll that revealed that 58% of those interviewed “never take a vitamin D supplement.”

The poll, by the organisation charged with Scotland’s food safety and standards, found that 61% of respondents living in Scotland were aware of public dietary advice to take a daily vitamin D supplement over the winter months, but less than half of those who were aware of the advice said they took a supplement every day, and 39% said they “never” take a supplement.

Most people (80%) were unsure of exactly how much vitamin D they should take.

The most common reasons why respondents don’t take a daily supplement include being unaware of the recommended advice (29%), preferring to get vitamins from food (28%) and forgetting to take a supplement (20%).

Once aware of the benefits of vitamin D, more than half of survey respondents (64%) said they would consider taking a daily supplement.

Dr Gillian Purdon, Head of Nutrition Science and Policy at Food Standards Scotland, said:

“Current dietary advice is that all adults and children in Scotland should consider taking a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D, especially during the winter months.

“Our main source of vitamin D is sunlight, but in Scotland, we only get enough of the right kind of sunlight for our bodies to make vitamin D between April and September. It can be difficult to get enough vitamin D from food, and so it is really important that we consider taking a daily vitamin D supplement between October and March.”

“Food Standards Scotland will continue to work closely with our colleagues in Scottish Government and Public Health Scotland to raise awareness of vitamin D advice in Scotland. We will use the results of this poll to inform the development of a digital marketing campaign on vitamin D in the early 2021.”

Scottish Government Minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing, Joe FitzPatrick MSP, said:

“We know Vitamin D is important for maintaining bone and muscle health, so we want to make sure people are aware of current advice on supplementation and understand why it is important. This is especially vital over winter, when we are unable to make vitamin D from sunlight.

“While around 60% of those who took part in the poll are aware of the current advice, it is clear that we have more to do. This winter we will continue to work closely with Food Standards Scotland, Public Health Scotland and others to raise awareness and build on the work that is already underway to support people in Scotland to maintain their vitamin D levels.”