In gloomy winter months it’s not just the warmth of the sun’s rays you miss — you may also suffer lower levels of vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin.
Vitamin D is important for bone health — low levels are linked to fractures in adults and rickets in children.
Last week, a report by the NHS advisory body the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), said more people should be given vitamin D tablets to counter a hidden epidemic of deficiency, with ten million people across England possibly affected.
Many thousands rely on supplements on prescription to ensure their levels are adequate.
Two years ago, the country’s chief medical officers highlighted the need for vitamin D to be given to pregnant and breastfeeding women, children under five and the elderly.
Prescriptions soared as a result.
However, NHS figures suggest the majority are being made up not with supplements licensed for medical use, but with food supplements that are not subjected to the same rigorous controls.