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The NHS is advising people to consider taking a vitamin D supplement during the autumn and winter months to support bone, teeth, and muscle health. While vitamin D is typically absorbed from sunlight, its deficiency can occur during darker months, leading to issues like muscle weakness and pain.

Vitamin D plays a crucial role in regulating calcium and phosphate levels in the body. A lack of this vitamin can result in conditions such as rickets in children and osteomalacia-related bone pain in adults, according to the NHS spokesperson. The government recommends daily vitamin D supplements for everyone during autumn and winter, with a focus on high-risk individuals, children aged 1 to 4, and all babies.

Key points from the NHS website include:

  1. Sources of Vitamin D: Between late March and the end of September, sunlight exposure is usually sufficient for vitamin D synthesis. However, from October to early March, alternative sources include oily fish, red meat, liver, egg yolks, and fortified foods like certain spreads and cereals.
  2. People at Risk: Individuals with limited sunlight exposure, those in care homes, and those covering most of their skin outdoors should consider vitamin D supplements. Additionally, people with dark skin backgrounds (African, African-Caribbean, or South Asian) may not produce enough vitamin D from sunlight alone.
  3. Supplement Recommendation: Adults and children over 4 years old are advised to take a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D throughout the year if they lack sunlight exposure or have specific risk factors. Pregnant and breastfeeding women are also included in this recommendation.
  4. Seasonal Considerations: During the autumn and winter, when sunlight is insufficient for vitamin D synthesis, supplements become especially important. However, between late March/early April and the end of September, individuals may obtain adequate vitamin D through sunlight exposure and a balanced diet.

In summary, the NHS emphasizes the importance of vitamin D supplementation to address deficiencies and maintain overall health, particularly during seasons with reduced sunlight.

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