The Scottish Government has recommended that everyone over the age of five years should take a daily supplement of 10 micrograms vitamin D, particularly during the winter months (October – March).
Those specifically recommended to take supplements all year round are:
- pregnant and breastfeeding mothers
- children under 5 years of age
- people who are not exposed to much sunlight, such as frail or housebound individuals, or those that cover their skin for cultural reasons
- people from minority ethnic groups with dark skin such as those of African, African-Caribbean and South Asian origin.
Between late March/early April and September, the majority of people aged 5 years and above will probably obtain sufficient vitamin D from sunlight when they are outdoors, alongside foods that naturally contain or are fortified with vitamin D.
The Government recommends that 10–15 minutes of unprotected Scottish sun exposure is safe for all.
Since vitamin D is found only in a small number of foods, between October to March, it might be difficult to get enough from foods that naturally contain vitamin D and/or fortified foods alone.
The following vitamin D guidance is available: