Low Vitamin D Levels

Vitamin D is important for good health, growth and strong bones.

If you have a vitamin D deficiency you will be prescribed a high dose of medication by your GP. It is important it is important you take the full treatment course as this will help your levels to return to normal quickly.

Patients with a vitamin D insufficiency may be advised to purchased a lower strength medication over the counter at the pharmacy. This is because the vitamin D level is only slightly lower than the normal range.

90% of the body’s vitamin D requirement is obtained from sunlight exposure, with only a small amount obtainable from food. Therefore the best way to increase your vitamin D levels is by increasing the amount of sun exposure you get.

During the summer two or three exposures of 20 minutes (of at least the face and arms without sunscreen and not behind glass) each week should provide enough vitamin D for most fair skinned people. In the UK, from October to April there is not enough sun exposure to produce enough vitamin D so the body has to use what is already stored or get this from the food you eat.

Diet  – Food Sources Which can Provide Vitamin D are:

  1. Oily fish such as herring, sardines, mackerel, salmon and tuna.
  2. Eggs and meat contain small amounts.
  3. Vitamin D fortified foods such as margarine and cereals & powdered milk (check product labels).

Nutritional Supplements

If vitamin D levels remain low despite adjusting the diet and having adequate sun exposure as mentioned above, then the following supplements can be taken on a daily basis.

  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women:-Pregnacare® range One capsule daily(Cost varies depending on the product).
  • Other patients:- Valupak Vitamin D3 1000unit tablet – One tablet daily

(Approximate cost = £1.00 for 60 tablets).

The Healthy Start Vitamins are available free of charge to qualifying women who are pregnant and for children under 4 years if the family receive some benefits. Further information can be found from http://www.healthystart.nhs.uk/

Other supplements are available to buy from pharmacies, health food shops and supermarkets. Please speak to your community pharmacist if you are unsure what to buy.


Information on vitamin D is also available on NHS choices: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/vitamins-minerals/Pages/Vitamin-D.aspx