Spotlight on vitamin D

By Judy Buttriss

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Nutrition, Vitamin d

Judy Buttriss, director general, British Nutrition Foundation
Judy Buttriss, director general, British Nutrition Foundation
In the past it had been assumed that vitamin D produced by exposure to sunlight during summer would be sufficient for most people to maintain adequate blood levels during winter.

It is now known this is not the case. One-in-five in the UK has a low blood vitamin D level, putting them at risk of poor musculoskeletal health; rising to one-in-four among girls aged 11–18 and men aged 19–64.

The comprehensive draft report on vitamin D and health by the government’s Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition advises a dietary intake of 10µg/day for the population as a whole, rather than just for those historically considered vulnerable.


Should the recommendation be supported, it will require a rethink of dietary advice, as average intakes are typically 25µg/day and there are few natural dietary sources.

Meat is the highest contributor in all age groups except young children, providing 23 –35% of intake. Fortified fat spreads, breakfast cereals and milk products provide much of the remainder. 

With concerns about excess sunlight exposure and limited natural dietary sources, options appear to be targeted dietary advice, or fortification and supplementation approaches.



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1 comment


Posted by Simple Simon,

1 in 4 men are deficient, average intake is 25mcg, and they are recommending this should drop to 10mcg??? Does this mean that there is a section of the community that is seriously overdosing in D?

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