Taking vitamin D supplements is recommended when sunlight is scarce, health officials in England and Wales have suggested.
Vitamin D supports bone and muscle health. A lack of it causes pain and aches in adults, while children may fall victim to rickets, a skeletal disorder.
Officials in England and Wales are clear that people should have a daily intake of 10 micrograms. But in a recent report, they expressed concern that in seasons of low sunlight, such as autumn and winter, eating foods with vitamin D may not be enough.
Because of this, one in five adults and one in six children in England are consuming too little, official estimates show. Foods with minuscule amounts of the vitamin include eggs, fortified cereals and oily fish such as salmon and cod.
Experts have maintained that children should take daily vitamin D supplements until they are four years of age.
Pregnant women, the elderly, and those with little exposure to the sun should also consume supplements – even if they come from tropical countries like Singapore.
The findings eradicate “any doubt of the place of vitamin D in the maintenance of bone health and should ensure that all people will now be encouraged to receive vitamin D to reduce their risk of bone disease and fracture,” said Professor Peter Selby of the University of Manchester.
Dr Louis Levy, head of nutrition science at Public Health England, added that applying recommended quantities of sunblock stops vitamin D from being made.
“When you go out, you do need to have short bursts without sunscreen and make sure that you don’t get sunburnt,” Dr Levy told the BBC.
“Previously we felt that everybody would get enough from the sunlight. This is new advice based on evidence looked at over the last five years,” he said.
Read BBC for the full report.