Sunshine vitamins in winter


Here in the UK, the sun only provides enough vitamin D from April to September and everyone should take vitamin D over the winter up until March.

Everyone over the age of one needs to consume 10 micrograms of vitamin D each day through over-the-counter supplements to protect bone and muscle health. Some people however should take vitamin D all year round.

Limited amounts of the vitamin are found in foods such as oily fish, eggs and fortified cereals but, for most people, the bulk of their vitamin D is made from the action of sunlight on skin.

However, with sunlight and sunshine not always making an appearance in the UK – especially over the winter months – this might not be achievable through diet alone.

We need vitamin D to keep our bones, teeth, and muscles healthy. One in six adults in the UK has low levels of vitamin D in their blood, which means they are at greater risk of developing lower back pain, bone pain in the shoulder, ribs, pelvis, or legs, muscle pain and weakness, waddling gait and impaired physical function, or osteoporosis and become more prone to falls and fracture.

Children can also develop rickets if they don’t get enough Vitamin D.

Scientific evidence has shown that Vitamin D also supports healthy respiratory function and since the Covid pandemic it has been widely reported to protect against acute respiratory tract infection. It also supports the immune system, helping you to fight off illnesses.

Those who are at risk of vitamin D deficiency are:

  • people over 65yrs
  • people who are housebound
  • people with dark skin
  • people who cover their skin all year round

The council is making a small supply of vitamin D available for these people if they cannot afford to buy their own vitamin D. The bottles are now available from the following Family Hubs or Children's Centres:

  • Audley and Queens Park Children's Centre
  • Family Hub Little Harwood
  • Family Hub Shadsworth
  • Wensley Fold Children's Centre

Other organisations such as Age UK and Blackburn with Darwen Healthy Living will be distributing the vitamins to our most vulnerable older adults and people identified at higher risk of vitamin D deficiency in the borough.

The council also provides free Healthy Start vitamins, which also contain Vitamin D, for all children under 4 years old and all pregnant women in the borough, and are available from every children’s centre or Family Hub and also from your health visitor.

Councillor Damian Talbot, Executive Member for Public Health, Prevention and Wellbeing, said:

"It is a concern that many people might not be getting enough Vitamin D, especially during the colder and darker winter months. Everyone should be supplementing their diet with Vitamin D tablets, but it is even more vital for certain people in our borough.

Lack of Vitamin D can lead to bone and muscle problems, even in children, so it is really important to make sure you are getting enough.

If you are in one of the four groups mentioned then please accept your free supply of Vitamin D and take it every day – it can really help to reduce your risk of bone disease, fracture and muscle pain.”

Find out more about Vitamin D