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Vitamin D

Vitamin D is found in a small number of foods. Good food sources are oily fish and eggs. Others include fortified foods such as margarine, breakfast cereals and powdered milk.

The primary source of vitamin D is sunlight on the skin. The vitamin forms under the skin in reaction to sunlight.

Liver and liver products are also good sources of vitamin D, and are also a rich source of vitamin A.

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin. This means you don't need it every day because any which the body doesn't need immediately is stored for future use.

Most people should be able to get all the vitamin D they need from their diet and by getting a little sun.

However, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding you should take 10 micrograms (0.01 mg) of vitamin D each day.

Older people should also consider taking 10 micrograms (0.01 mg) of vitamin D each day.

You might be particularly short of vitamin D, and so might want to think about taking 10 micrograms (0.01 mg) of vitamin D each day, if you:
* are of Asian origin
* always cover up all your skin when you're outside
* rarely get outdoors
* eat no meat or oily fish

If you aren't getting enough vitamin D, you might be more at risk of some of the harmful effects of too much vitamin A.

Vitamin D has a number of important functions. Principally, it helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body; calcium and phosphate are needed to help keep bones and teeth healthy.

Taking high doses of vitamin D for long periods of time could weaken the bones.

Most people should be able to get the enough vitamin D by eating a varied and balanced diet and by getting some sun. If you decide to take vitamin D supplements it's a good idea not to take too much because this could be harmful.

Taking 25 micrograms (0.025 mg) or less of vitamin D supplements a day is unlikely to cause any harm.

The following are our vitamin D recommendations:

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