Vitamin D: where do we get it and how much do we need?

Vitamin D: where do we get it and how much do we need?

Another winter, and like clockwork, more Vitamin D articles. But the question remains – do we get enough and where should we get it from? 

Vitamin D helps to regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body. These elements keep the teeth, bones and muscles strong and healthy. A vitamin D deficiency can lead to bone deformities causing pain and tenderness. This is called rickets in children, and osteomalacia in adults.

Sources of Vitamin D

From late Spring to the start of Autumn, most of us should be able to get the vitamin D we need from sunlight on our skin. Vitamin D is made by our body under the skin in reaction to sunlight.

However, in the winter months, we don’t get much vitamin D from sunlight at all. Therefore we need to look for alternative ways of getting vitamin D.

Vitamin D is found in a small number of foods including: 

  • Red meat
  • Oily fish – such as salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel
  • Liver
  • Egg yolks
  • Fortified foods – for example fat spreads and fortified breakfast cereals

In countries such as those in Scandinavia, cows milk is a good source as it is fortified with vitamin D. In the UK and most of the world however, this is not the case. In this instance a vitamin D-containing supplement, such as ActiKid® Vitamin D3 Drops or ActiKid® Chewable Multi-Vitamin, may be the only way of obtaining a healthy vitamin D intake.

Who should take a Vitamin D supplement?

The UK Department of Health recommends that infants ages 0 to 4 should supplement vitamin D: 

  • Breastfed babies 0-1 years – 8.5 – 10mcg/day
  • Babies fed infant formula – Infant formula is fortified with vitamin D. Therefore until they are receiving less than 500ml (about a pint) of formula a day they not be given a supplement
  • Children ages 1 – 4 years – 10mcg/day

 Adults at risk of Vitamin D deficiency are those who: 

  • don’t go outdoors often, such as those who are frail or housebound
  • are in care homes or similar institutions
  • wear clothes covering up most of their skin when outdoors
  • have dark skin, such as those of African, Caribbean or South Asian origin

Like children aged 1 to 4 years, adults in these categories should consider supplementing with 10mcg of vitamin D per day.

You can buy single vitamin D supplements, such as Vitamin D3 Drops, or multi-vitamin supplements such as chewables, gummies, drops or jelly beans which contain vitamin D. These are available in most pharmacies, health stores, supermarkets and online.

We hope you found this article useful and will adapt your child’s diet and supplement regime accordingly. What do you do to ensure your child gets their necessary vitamin D intake? Did we miss anything out? Please let us know in the comments below.

This article contains general information regarding health and well-being. This information is not intended as advice, and should not be treated as such. You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to advice from medical or educational professionals.