AS the days get shorter and the nights are drawing in, it’s a good time to ensure everyone is getting enough vitamin D, known as ‘the sunshine vitamin’.

We all need vitamin D to help maintain strong and healthy bones and muscles, and it also plays several other important roles to improve the body’s health and wellbeing.

While the best source of vitamin D is from sunlight, unfortunately that’s not possible all year round in the UK.

And although there are foods which contain or are fortified with vitamin D, it’s difficult to be sure you’re getting enough of this important nutrient from what you eat.

The current advice from Public Health England is for everyone to consider taking vitamin D supplements of 10 micrograms daily during autumn and winter months. You can get these vitamin D supplements in any supermarket or pharmacy.

Some of us are particularly at risk of vitamin D deficiency, including those who get little or no exposure to the sun because they don’t leave their house or care home much, or because they wear clothes that cover large parts of their skin.

People from Afro-Caribbean and South Asian backgrounds may have difficulty in making vitamin D from the sun in the UK because darker skin doesn’t absorb as much sunlight as paler skin.

People who are at risk of vitamin D deficiency, such as people in these groups, should take vitamin D supplements all year round.

So we’d urge everyone to protect their bone health this winter. With the help of vitamin D, it could make a real difference.

Arthritis Research UK