Vitamin D helps to regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the human body which are needed to keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy.
Here is everything you need to know:
What problems can a lack of vitamin D cause?
A lack of vitamin D can lead to bone deformities such as rickets in children, and bone pain caused by a condition called osteomalacia in adults.
What foods are a good source of vitamin D?
• Oily fish – such as salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel
• Red meat
• Egg yolks
• Fortified foods – such as most fat spreads and some breakfast cereals
How much vitamin D for I need?
Babies up to the age of 1 year need 8.5 to 10 micrograms (a microgram is 1,000 times smaller than a milligram (mg).) of vitamin D a day.
Children from the age of 1 year and adults need 10 micrograms of vitamin D a day. This includes pregnant and breastfeeding women, and people at risk of vitamin D deficiency.
Should I take vitamin D supplements, and when is the best time to take them?
During the autumn and winter, you need to get vitamin D from your diet because the sun isn't strong enough for the body to make produce it.
However, as it's difficult for people to get enough vitamin D from food alone, the NHS recommends that everyone (including pregnant and breastfeeding women) should consider taking a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D during the autumn and winter.
What happens if I take too much vitamin D?
Taking too many vitamin D supplements over a long period of time can cause too much calcium to build up in the body (hypercalcaemia). This can weaken the bones and damage the kidneys and the heart.
If you choose to take vitamin D supplements, 10 micrograms a day will be enough for most people.
Taking more than 100 micrograms of vitamin D a day could be harmful. This applies to adults, including pregnant and breastfeeding women and the elderly, and children aged 11 to 17 years.
You can read more about vitamin D on the NHS website here