Carried out by YouGov, the survey, which looked at people’s awareness and habits in relation to vitamin D, also reveals 21% of respondents take vitamin D to protect themselves from COVID-19, despite a lack of robust evidence.
“A balanced diet can give us most of the nutrients we need,” says Sara Stanner, Science Director, British Nutrition Foundation.
“But vitamin D is an exception because our main source is UV exposure from sunlight on skin and there are relatively few rich dietary sources.”
The findings, taken from a sample of 2072 adults and carried out online, also revealed 32% were aware of the Government vitamin D recommendations including the daily amount recommended.
A further 19% had heard of the recommendation but were not aware that the daily amount suggested is 10 micrograms.
When it came to taking vitamin D supplements, which included tablets, gummies, capsules, drops etc that contain vitamin D alone and/or as part of a combined or multivitamin, the researchers found 26% of respondents take vitamin D supplements all year round.
Another 8% say they take vitamin D supplements for most of the year, while another 8% say they take them during the autumn and winter months (October to March)
Further results reveal that 15% take them ‘inconsistently’ and 39% say they never take vitamin D supplements.
When pressed, 31% of these respondents think they already get enough vitamin D from diet and/or sunlight, while 28% say they aren’t aware of the benefits of taking them.
“We have seen little improvement in vitamin D status in the population in recent years,” Stanner adds.
“So, it is really important that we raise awareness of the need to consider supplements from October to March to make sure we are getting the vitamin D we need to keep us healthy.”
The Government’s National Diet and Nutrition Survey shows that about 1 in 6 adults in the UK have low levels of vitamin D in their blood.
The Government advises everyone to consider taking a daily vitamin D supplement of 10 micrograms from October-March to help keep bones and muscles healthy.
Revealing why people do or don’t take supplements, 40% of those that did say it is for general health, while 36% think they don’t get enough vitamin D from their diet and/or sunlight.
27% say they take vitamin D to keep their bones healthy, but only 10% say they take vitamin D in order to follow the Government guidelines.
When asked about purchasing vitamin D fortified foods, the majority of respondents (74%) say they do not buy any foods or drinks because they are fortified with vitamin D.