Calcium is necessary to form healthy bones and Vitamin D helps to regulate the amount of Calcium in the body. Most people are able to get all the Vitamin D they need by eating a healthy, balanced diet and by getting some summer sun. However, a lack of Vitamin D is very common and certain population groups are at risk of not getting enough Vitamin D. These groups include:
- People aged 65 years and over, as older people have thinner skin and so are often unable to produce enough Vitamin D even with sufficient dietary intake and sun exposure.
- People who are not exposed to much sun, such as people who cover up their skin when outdoors, or those who are housebound or confined indoors for long periods.
- People who have darker skin such as people of African, African-Caribbean and South Asian origin. The melanin (a group of natural pigments) in people with naturally darker skin affects UV penetration, so they require much longer sun exposure to produce adequate Vitamin D.
The Department of Health recommends that people aged 65 years and over and people not exposed to much sun should also take a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms (0.01mg) of vitamin D.
Vitamin D supplements can be prescribed by your doctor and are also available without prescription in pharmacies and health food shops. They are often cheaper to purchase without a prescription if you look out for and take advantage of the regularly appearing “3 for 2” offers in larger supermarkets or at Boots, or the “Penny Sale” at Holland and Barrett. If you are purchasing Vitamin D over the counter for the first time, speak to your pharmacist to discuss any potential side effects or risks.
For more information about Vitamin D supplements, the benefits, risks and possible side effects, we recommend you to visit patient.co.uk.
Better Bones is not responsible for the quality or accuracy of any information or advice provided by patient.co.uk.
Tinned fish are a natural source of Vitamin D.