Vitamin D

Vitamin D

 You may be aware that in northern parts of the world, including Brora and Helmsdale, people  are unable to make vitamin D from sunlight during the six winter months. This is how we can optimise our vitamin D levels.


  •  Exposure of the face and arms to midday sun for 20-30minutes 2-3 times each week, or 15 mins 5 times a week,  from April to September would be sufficient to achieve healthy vitamin D levels, but in winter months 90% of the UK does not receive UBV necessary for vitamin D synthesis
  • Sunscreen: factor 15 or above  blocks 99% of vitamin D synthesis, so we now  advise that sunscreens  should be used after an initial 15-30 minute   period without. Avoiding sunburn remains important for your health so remember not to exceed 15-30 mins a day of sun exposure without sun screen
  • Diet: Only cod liver oil and oily fish are significant dietary sources. Small amounts of vitamin D are found in eggs and meat, and it is added to margarines and some breakfast cereals, soya and dairy products, powdered milks and low-fat spreads.


Certain groups of people are now being advised to consider vitamin D supplements as below.


Recommended daily dose of


Example products


All pregnant and breastfeeding womenespecially young women


10mcg= 400IU daily

Healthy Start ( vitamin C, folic acid and vitamin D)  or Pregnacare vitamin tablets


aged 6months-5years


Breast-fed infants from1month of age IF mother has not taken supplements in pregnancy


Babies fed infant

formula (which is fortified) do NOT need supplementation until receiving  less tah 500ml formula daily

7-8.5mcg =300IU daily

Healthy Start vitamin drops (contain 7.5mcg per 5 drops) or Abidec drops (contain 10mcg per




Everyone aged over 65


Other adults who may be at risk eg. darker skin, poor sun exposure etc.



10mcg= 400IU daily


Standard combinations of

calcium and vit D containing10mcg/ 400IU daily  or Vitamin D alone

 (10mcg/400IU and




Healthy Start scheme. Please ask your midwife or health visitor if you are eligible for free vitamin supplements when pregnant or breast feeding or for babies and children under the age of five

Adults can purchase vitamin D supplements from any chemist and many supermarkets. If you are taking  Ad-Cal or similar to treat osteoporosis you will get sufficient vitamin D from these.

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