Vitamin D Advice for Patients

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.

You need sufficient calcium to keep your bones healthy and vitamin D to help your body absorb calcium.


Adults need 700mg of calcium a day. You should be able to get all the calcium you need by eating a varied and balanced diet.

Good sources of calcium include:

  • milk, cheese and other dairy foods
  • green leafy vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage and okra, but not spinach
  • soya beans
  • tofu
  • plant-based drinks (such as soya drink) with added calcium
  • nuts
  • bread and anything made with fortified flour
  • fish where you eat the bones, such as sardines and pilchards

Although spinach contains a lot of calcium, it also contains oxalate, which reduces calcium absorption, and it is therefore not a good source of calcium.

Vitamin D

What dose should I take?

If you have been found to be deficient, you will require a loading dose:

Adults and children over 12 years of age 20,000iu x2 tablets every week for 8 weeks
Children 1 years- 6 years3000iu daily for 8 weeks
Children 6 years – 12 years6000iu daily for 8 weeks
Children 12 years – 18 years10000iu daily for 8 weeks

We get most of our vitamin D from the action of the sun on our skin. Some people will not get enough vitamin D from sunlight because they have little or no sunlight exposure. Everyone should consider taking a daily vitamin D supplement during the autumn and winter when we cannot make vitamin D from sunlight. They should take a maintenance dose every day for life;

Adults and children over 12 years old 1000iu daily
Babies from birth – 1 years who are breast fed400iu daily
Babies from birth to 1 year who are formula fedshouldn’t be given a vitamin D supplement if they’re having more than 500ml (about a pint) of infant formula a day, because infant formula is fortified with vitamin D and other nutrients.
Children ages 1 years – 12 years 400iu daily

You can buy vitamin D supplements or vitamin drops containing vitamin D (for under 5s) in many shops, including pharmacies and supermarkets.

The NHS is promoting self-care to help patients take responsibility for their own health.