Vitamin D is important for keeping bones and teeth healthy. A lack of the vitamin can lead to deformities such as rickets in children, and a condition known as osteomalacia in adults which causes pain and tenderness.
In England, around a fifth of adults and a sixth of children – around 10 million people –may have low vitamin D status. This is partly because the main source for vitamin D is from natural sunlight, and from mid-October to the beginning of April there is no sunlight at the correct wavelength for skin to create vitamin D.
Certain groups of people in the UK are also more likely to have lack of vitamin D. These include pregnant women, children and older adults. People with darker skin or who cover up when outdoors are also at risk of having low vitamin D levels.
Vitamin D is found in foods such as oily fish and fortified breakfast cereals, but if you think are missing out you can always buy a vitamin D supplement from your pharmacy. Ask your pharmacist for advice on the dose – adults should not exceed 0.025mg a day.