Health food, vitamins and supplements
A healthy body needs a healthy balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals. Your local Dears Pharmacy team can help advise you on the vitamins you need to include in your diet and what they are for.
With the busy lives we live it can be difficult to maintain a healthy diet, and whilst the best source of vitamins and minerals is from the original food source, there are times we may need to boost our bodies with vitamin supplements to replace missing nutrients. Not only can you get the advice you need but we also stock a comprehensive range of food supplements. If you are feeling a bit low – don’t delay and ask to speak to the Pharmacy team.
Price: Free service
Frequency: When required...
Vitamin D Boost
What is vitamin D?
Vitamin D helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body. These nutrients are needed to keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy. A lack of vitamin D can lead to bone deformities such as rickets in children, and bone pain caused by a condition called osteomalacia in adults.
What are the benefits of vitamin D?
Vitamin D is important for normal growth and development of bones and teeth as well as improved resistance to certain diseases. If your body doesn’t get enough vitamin D, you are at risk of developing bone abnormalities such as osteomalacia (soft bones) or osteoporosis (fragile bones).
Where do I get vitamin D from?
From about late March/early April to the end of September, most people should be able to get all the vitamin D they need from sunlight. The body creates vitamin D from direct sunlight on the skin when outdoors.
In the UK, sunlight doesn't contain enough UVB radiation in winter (October to early March) for our skin to be able to make vitamin D. During these months, we rely on getting our vitamin D from food sources (including fortified foods) and supplements. Using sunbeds is not a recommended way of making vitamin D.
What foods contain vitamin D?
Oily fish such as; salmon, sardines and mackerel
Fortified fat spreads
Fortified breakfast cereals
Another source of vitamin D is dietary supplements. At Dears Pharmacy, we stock a range of capsules and drops to boost your levels over the winter.
How much vitamin D do I need?
Advice for infants and young children
The Department of Health recommends that:
Breastfed babies from birth to one year of age should be given a daily supplement containing 8.5-10mcg of vitamin D to make sure they get enough
Formula-fed babies shouldn't be given a vitamin D supplement until they're having less than 500ml (about a pint) of infant formula a day, as infant formula is fortified with vitamin D
Children aged 1-4 years old should be given a daily supplement containing 10mcg of vitamin D
Advice for adults and children over 5 years old
During the autumn and winter, you need to get vitamin D from your diet because the sun isn't strong enough for the body to make vitamin D.
But since it's difficult for people to get enough vitamin D from food alone, everyone (including pregnant and breastfeeding women) should consider taking a daily supplement containing 10mcg of vitamin D during the autumn and winter.
Between late March/early April to the end of September, most people can get all the vitamin D they need through sunlight on their skin and from a balanced diet. You may choose not to take a vitamin D supplement during these months.
People at risk of vitamin D deficiency
Some people won't get enough vitamin D from sunlight because they have very little or no sunshine exposure.
The Department of Health recommends that you take a daily supplement containing 10mcg of vitamin D throughout the year if you:
Aren't often outdoors – for example, if you're frail or housebound
Are in an institution like a care home
Usually wear clothes that cover up most of your skin when outdoors
People with dark skin from African, African-Caribbean and south Asian backgrounds may also not get enough vitamin D from sunlight. They should consider taking a daily supplement containing 10mcg of vitamin D throughout the year.
What happens if I take too much vitamin D?
Taking too many vitamin D supplements over a long period of time can cause too much calcium to build up in the body (hypercalcaemia). This can weaken the bones and damage the kidneys and the heart.
If you choose to take vitamin D supplements, 10mcg a day will be enough for most people.
Don't take more than 100mcg of vitamin D a day as it could be harmful. This applies to adults, including pregnant and breastfeeding women and the elderly, and children aged 11-17 years.
Children aged 1-10 years shouldn't have more than 50mcg a day. Infants under 12 months shouldn't have more than 25mcg a day.
Some people have medical conditions that mean they may not be able to safely take as much. If in doubt, you should consult your doctor.
If your doctor has recommended you take a different amount of vitamin D, you should follow their advice.
Your body doesn't make too much vitamin D from sun exposure, but always remember to cover up or protect your skin if you're out in the sun for long periods to reduce the risk of skin damage and skin cancer.
At Dears Pharmacy, our pharmacists and their teams are here to provide advice and support on Vitamin D as part of our Preparing for Winter Service.
Price: Free service
Frequency: When required...