The majority of people will be able to get sufficient levels of Vitamin D from exposure to sunlight and eating a good, balanced diet as the norm (especially diet rich in oily fish, eggs, cereals and dairy).
If levels of Vitamin D are 50 – 75 nmol/l your levels are sufficient. Vitamin D deficiency is deemed to be levels of 25 nmol/l and lower. You can get a spot blood test to check your own levels.
There are, however, certain cultural and lifestyle exceptions where the risk of being Vitamin D deficient (or having insufficient levels of between 25 – 50 nmol/l) are increased. These people may require supplementation over and above the norm. These groups are:
· People whose cultural dress greatly reduces their skin’s exposure to sunlight
· People who work in buildings where they have no access to natural daylight via windows
· During winter season when there is limited exposure to sunlight
· People whose work dress / uniform reduces their skin’s exposure to sunlight
· People whose diet is deficient in Vitamin D from food sources
· Vegans who do not get their Vitamin D from oily fish or eggs. This group in particular may benefit from Vitamin D supplementation as the vitamin will assist their body with the extraction of calcium from the food they are eating and use this calcium for the benefit of their bones.
The clinical view is that it is safe for adults, should they wish, to supplement during the winter months (December through to February) with up to 1000 IU of Vitamin D per day. As with everything, natural sources of vitamins and minerals are always the preferred route.