You may remember over the winter months, seeing a number of news articles and reports about Vitamin D and how it could prevent colds and flu.
The media reports came from a study published in the British Medical Journal which looked at the research published on Vitamin D supplements to prevent colds and flu infections.
What is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D helps control the levels of calcium and phosphate in our bodies which are important to keep our bones, teeth and muscles healthy. It also helps to keep our immune systems functioning properly.
Vitamin D in the diet is most commonly found and eaten in this country in fortified breakfast cereals, infant formulas and various kinds of margarine, it is also found naturally in foods such as eggs, oily fish, red meat and liver. But even eating these foods it is difficult to get the amount we need each day.
Our main source of Vitamin D comes from our own bodies when our skin comes into contact from Ultraviolet B (UVB) waves from sunlight. This is fine for most people during the summer months in this country (April to late September) but unfortunately during the winter, as well as there being less sunshine, it contains fewer UVB waves, so this process stops.
How much do we need?
To ensure we all get enough Vitamin D during the winter months, it's recommended that from the age of 4 years old we should take a pill supplement or vitamin drop of 10 micrograms (mcg) each day.
Babies that are breastfed are also recommended to be given a supplement of 8.5-10 mcg a day, bottle fed babies, however, don't need a supplement as mentioned above, formula milk is already fortified with Vitamin D.