Unlike many other vitamins, vitamin D isn't readily available from food, with sunlight being the best source. Thanks to our usually dreary skies, millions of people in Britain are not getting enough vitamin D, putting children at risk of rickets (soft bones) and leaving adults with osteoporosis (brittle bones) and other health problems. According to draft guidelines by the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE), currently undergoing consultation until 24th June, councils should consider making supplements available to the one in five adults at risk of deficiency, in particular older people and those with darker skin and pharmacies should be encouraged to stock low-cost vitamin D supplements.
Most people don't need to take vitamin D supplements - so don't take them unless your GP advises you to do so.
Recently, I have been trying out a vitamin D mouth spray, BetterYou's DLux 1000iu oral spray. This is much more convenient than taking a tablet, as I keep the spray at the side of my bed and grab it when I wake up. I simply spray once under my tongue and the vitamin is (apparently) absorbed directly into my bloodstream. This particular product supplies 1000iu (25 mg) of vitamin D in every spray, but there is also a 3000iu version and 400iu version, depending on the dose you require.
Many people worry about topping up their vitamin D levels through exposure to sunshine because of the risk of sunburn and skin cancer. The amount of time you need to be out in the sun will depend on many things - your skin type, time of day, time of year or where you are in the world. Generally, according to Cancer Research UK, you only need 10 to 15 minutes in the summer sun in the middle of day without sun protection to ensure you get enough vitamin D. Cancer Research UK stresses that your skin must not redden or burn.