Advice for parents of small children
- Vitamin D is important for building healthy bones for your child, for now and for later life. Vitamin D is made in the skin under the influence of sunlight, and insufficient levels are very common in our climate, especially in children with darker skin.
- The Department of Health advises that all children from 6 months - 5 years should take vitamin D 7.5 micrograms daily. Before the age of 6 months, their vitamin D requirements will be met either by formula milk or breast milk (the breastfeeding mother should take a supplement of 10 micrograms daily).
- Free vitamins (as well as vouchers for milk, fruit and vegetables) are available for children from families on low incomes (www.healthystart.nhs.uk).
- If you do not qualify for Healthy Start, vitamin D supplements are widely available from major supermarkets and chemists and can cost as little as £1 for a 3-month supply. Multivitamin supplements are more expensive and not necessary.
Vitamin D for older patients
- Vitamin D is important for maintaining bone and muscle strength as you get older. Vitamin D is made in the skin under the influence of sunlight and deficiency is very common in our climate, particularly in people who do not get much sun exposure.
- If you have osteoporosis, it is likely that your doctor will have suggested a vitamin D supplement. However, the Department of Health now recommends that everybody over the age of 65 take a vitamin D supplement of 10 micrograms daily, even if they have never broken any bones. This helps protect against thinning of the bones and fractures in later life.
- Vitamin D supplements are widely available from major supermarkets and chemists and can cost as little as £2 for a 3-month supply. Multivitamin supplements are more expensive and not necessary.