Vitamin D is one of the family of fat-soluble vitamins that include Vitamin A and Vitamin E. Vitamin D is needed to help your body to absorb calcium so it is essential for healthy bones and teeth. Vitamin D also helps to keep muscles healthy and is needed for a healthy immune system.
Where can I find Vitamin D?
We make vitamin D when sun shines on our skin. We can also find vitamin D in oil-rich fish like salmon, trout and mackerel as well as eggs. Milk that has added vitamin D can also be a good source.
Did you know?
The Department of Health recommends that all babies under 12 months have a supplement of vitamin D. They need 5mcg of vitamin D everyday. About 50% of Irish people are thought to be deficient in vitamin D. Although we should get vitamin D from the sun,we get so little sun in Ireland that many of us do not make enough vitamin D.
Vitamin D – Benefits at a glance:
- Needed to absorb calcium from food
- Helps keep bones healthy
- Helps to maintain normal muscle function
- Essential for healthy teeth
- Needed for a healthy immune system
How much Vitamin D do I need everyday?
The RDA or Recommended Daily Amount for Vitamin D is 5mcg (micrograms) per day.
|Vitamin D in food (per 100g)||Need 5mcg per day|
|Milk fortified with vitamin D (250mls glass)||5mcg|
What if I don’t eat enough Vitamin D?
If you don’t eat enough vitamin D it is harder for your body to absorb calcium and you can have problems with your bones. Rickets is the well known bone disease that is caused by lack of vitamin D. This is where the bones become soft due to lack of calcium and people can become ‘bow-legged’. Rickets is usually seen in children who are very low in vitamin D and is unusual in Ireland.
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Vitamin D3 can be synthesised in the skin upon exposure to Ultraviolet - B (UVB) radiation from sunlight. Sunlight is less available in winter especially in Northern Europe and in summer advice to use sun block to avoid excessive sun exposure reduces the body's ability to produce Vitamin D. Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin and advice to eat lower fat diets may contribute to reduce the intake of vitamin D. As a result vitamin D requirements in Ireland and the U.K. may be difficult to fulfil without supplementation.