Should Everyone Be Taking A Vitamin D Supplement?

The short answer is most people should. Vitamin D offers so many varied health benefits and few people get enough of it.

In the UK every resident has been advised to take a vitamin D supplement during autumn and winter. This is because official estimates suggest one in five adults and one in six children in England likely have low blood levels. An analysis carried out by the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN), suggests that everybody over the age of one should consume 10 micrograms of vitamin D every day in order to protect their health. 10 micrograms is equivalent to 400 International Units (IU). Most vitamin D supplements are labelled in international units.

Public health officials say that during the winter months, most people need a supplement because their diet is unlikely to provide sufficient levels. Very few foods contain much vitamin D. Egg yolks, butter and oily fish provide small amounts. Some milk and mushrooms have been fortified with vitamin D.

The main way to get more vitamin D into your body is through exposing your skin to the sun’s UVB rays, which are mostly present at midday. This is impossible during winter in many parts of the world, hence the recommendation in Britain. The problem is that even during summer, many people simply don’t get the opportunity to spend enough time in the sun due to work commitments or lifestyle, or the sun is too strong at midday to safely spend time outdoors. That’s when a supplement is valuable.

This recommendation in the UK is a good start, but there is controversy about the dose. 400 IU is simply not enough for most people to attain optimal blood levels. Vitamin D is so important for strong bones, strong muscles and a healthy immune system. It reduces inflammation and is very valuable in the treatment of autoimmune disease. We have discussed its benefits in detail in our book called Healing Autoimmune Disease.

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