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50% respondents said they weren’t aware of this recommendation and change in awareness levels or consumption around Vitamin D supplements almost the same since 2021.

Key Points

  • The latest survey from British Nutrition Foundation reveals that awareness levels among people about current UK government recommendations for vitamin D intake haven’t increased since 2021, when 49% people had cited being unaware about this recommendation
  • 44% people said they NEVER take vitamin D supplements; worryingly, this statistic has increased, as it was 39% in 2021
  • The UK Government recommends that adults and children over 4 years old consider taking a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D from October to March, and that people at risk of vitamin D deficiency and infants and children up to 4 years old are advised to take a vitamin D supplement all year round

BRITISH NUTRITION FOUNDATION (Oct. 24, 2023)—  We cannot make vitamin D from sun exposure during autumn and winter months, and the UK Government recommends* that everyone should consider taking a daily 10mcg vitamin D supplement from October to March. This is to make sure we get enough vitamin D to keep bones and muscles healthy.

However, the latest survey from British Nutrition Foundation reveals that awareness levels among people haven’t increased since 2021, when 49% people had cited being unaware about this recommendation.

The survey also found that while 28% people are fully aware of this recommendation, only 7% of all Brits admitted to actually taking them between October and March. 24% said they take Vitamin D supplements** all year round.

This is slightly lower than 2021 when 8% had mentioned that they take Vitamin D supplements between October and March and 26% had mentioned taking it all year round.

The percentage of people taking vitamin D supplements all year round also seems to have reduced from 26% in 2021 to 24% in 2023.

Reasons cited for taking the supplements this year ranged from being advised by a healthcare professional (31%), to maintaining/improving general health (40%) and that they didn’t think they got enough vitamin D from their diet and sunlight (33%).

However, 44% people said they NEVER take vitamin D supplements. Worryingly, this statistic has increased, as it was 39% in 2021.

Reasons for avoiding intake included being unaware of its benefits (22%), preference to not take supplements (25%), lack of awareness around which supplement to take (13%) and affordability as they can be expensive (14%).

Commenting on the findings, Bridget Benelam, Nutrition Communications Manager, British Nutrition Foundation said, “The lack of awareness around the need for Vitamin D supplements at this time of year is concerning as Vitamin D is essential for keeping our bones and muscles healthy. While we can get some vitamin D from our diet, our main source is sunlight exposure on the skin. National surveys*** show that more than 1 in 10 of us have low levels of vitamin D in the blood so it is really important that we raise awareness of the need to consider supplements from October to March to maintain the levels we need for good health.”

Ends Notes

*The UK Government recommends that adults and children over 4 years old consider taking a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D from October to March. People at risk of vitamin D deficiency and infants and children up to 4 years old are advised to take a vitamin D supplement all year round. Further details are available here: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/vitamin-d/

** ‘Vitamin D supplements’ in the survey could include tablets, gummies, capsules, drops etc. containing vitamin D alone and/or as part of a combined or multivitamin (e.g. vitamin D and calcium, vitamin D as part of a multivitamin, cod liver oil with vitamin D or ‘bone health’ vitamins).

*** UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/ndns-results-from-years-9-to-11-2016-to-2017-and-2018-to-2019

2023 – All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2030 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 28th – 29th September 2023. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults

2021 – All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2072 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 6th – 7th October 2021. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults

For more information, interviews and images please contact Eisha Sharma at [email protected]

About the British Nutrition Foundation

Connecting people, food and science for better nutrition and healthier lives

The British Nutrition Foundation, a registered charity, delivers impartial, authoritative and evidence-based information on food and nutrition. Its core purpose is translating evidence-based nutrition science in engaging and actionable ways, working with an extensive network of contacts across academia, health care, education, communication and the food chain. A core strength of the Foundation is its governance structure (described in the Articles of Association), which comprises a Board of Trustees, Advisory Committee, Scientific Committee, Editorial Advisory Board, Education Working Groups and a Nominations Committee, on which serve senior/experienced individuals from many walks of life. The composition is deliberately weighted towards the scientific ‘academic’ community, based in universities and research institutes, and those from education, finance, media, communications and HR backgrounds.

The British Nutrition Foundation’s funding comes from: membership subscriptions; donations and project grants from food producers and manufacturers, retailers and food service companies; contracts with government departments; conferences, publications and training; overseas projects; funding from grant providing bodies, trusts and other charities. The British Nutrition Foundation is not a lobbying organisation nor does it endorse any products or engage in food advertising campaigns. More details about the British Nutrition Foundation’s work, funding and governance can be found at: https://www.nutrition.org.uk/our-work/who-we-are/.

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