Do I still need to take a vitamin D supplement? The official health advice for spring

This Morning: Dr Michael Mosley discusses vitamin D dosage

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Vitamin D deficiency affects around one in five Britons, with this condition being more prevalent during the winter months. This occurs because your body might not be able to synthesise enough of this vitamin due to the lack of sunshine.

The Government recommends everyone to consider taking a daily dose of the nutrient between October and March.

But with the spring season in a full swing, is it time to say bye to your vitamin D supplements?

The simple answer for many is yes. However, there are certain people that might want to keep their shelf stocked with the vitamin.

Based on the Government’s advice, you only needed the aid of supplements when there was a lack of sunshine.

The general recommendation for this time was to take 10 micrograms of vitamin D daily.

But with the temperatures rising and the sun shining, you should be able to say goodbye to the dietary supplement.

The NHS explains: “Between late March/early April to the end of September, most people can make all the vitamin D they need through sunlight on their skin and from a balanced diet.”

This is because your body has the ability to synthesise the sunshine vitamin organically.

All you have to do is spend time outdoors with your skin exposed.

When it comes to the food sources of the sunshine vitamin, there isn’t a great variety but there are some options.

The NHS lists these foods as sources:

  • Oily fish (salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel)
  • Red meat
  • Liver
  • Egg yolks
  • Fortified foods (some fat spreads and breakfast cereals).

Although most people will be able to get enough vitamin D through foods and the sun, some people might be still targeted by vitamin D deficiency.

Those who have very little or no sunshine exposure, could be affected throughout the whole year, the health service warns.

People who might be at the risk of lacking this nutrient all year around are those who:

  • Are not often outdoors (for example, frail or housebound people)
  • Are in an institution like a care home
  • Usually wear clothes that cover up most of their skin when outdoors.

If you belong on this list, the Department of Health and Social Care recommends to keep taking a daily supplement even during spring and summer.

The health service added: “If you have dark skin – for example you have an African, African-Caribbean or south Asian background – you may also not make enough vitamin D from sunlight.

“You should consider taking a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D throughout the year.”

What are the symptoms of vitamin D deficiency?

The health portal Livi shares the warning signs include:

  • Getting ill more often
  • Tiredness or fatigue
  • Hair loss
  • Muscle pain
  • Bone and/or lower back pain
  • Depression or low mood
  • Wounds healing slowly following surgery, infection or injury.

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