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Vitamin D supplements: Britons unaware of guidelines

We cannot make vitamin D from sun exposure during autumn and winter months, and the UK Government recommends that everyone should consider taking a daily 10mcg vitamin D supplement from October to March. This is to make sure we get enough vitamin D to keep bones and muscles healthy.

However, the latest survey from British Nutrition Foundation reveals that awareness levels among people haven’t increased since 2021, when 49% people had cited being unaware about this recommendation.

The survey also found that while 28% people are fully aware of this recommendation, only 7% of all Brits admitted to actually taking them between October and March. 24% said they take Vitamin D supplements all year round.

This is slightly lower than 2021 when 8% had mentioned that they take Vitamin D supplements between October and March and 26% had mentioned taking it all year round.

The percentage of people taking vitamin D supplements all year round also seems to have reduced from 26% in 2021 to 24% in 2023.

Reasons cited for taking the supplements this year ranged from being advised by a healthcare professional (31%), to maintaining/improving general health (40%) and that they didn’t think they got enough vitamin D from their diet and sunlight (33%).

However, 44% people said they NEVER take vitamin D supplements. Worryingly, this statistic has increased, as it was 39% in 2021.

Reasons for avoiding intake included being unaware of its benefits (22%), preference to not take supplements (25%), lack of awareness around which supplement to take (13%) and affordability as they can be expensive (14%).

Commenting on the findings, Bridget Benelam, Nutrition Communications Manager, British Nutrition Foundation said, “The lack of awareness around the need for Vitamin D supplements at this time of year is concerning as Vitamin D is essential for keeping our bones and muscles healthy. While we can get some vitamin D from our diet, our main source is sunlight exposure on the skin. National surveys*** show that more than 1 in 10 of us have low levels of vitamin D in the blood so it is really important that we raise awareness of the need to consider supplements from October to March to maintain the levels we need for good health.”


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