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Vitamin D


Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin that helps the body absorb calcium. It is important for maintaining healthy bones, teeth, muscles and overall health.



Your body makes vitamin D when your skin is directly exposed to sunlight. The amount of sun exposure you need depends on your skin type, season and whether sun protection is used. A balanced approach to sun exposure should be taken to minimise your risk of skin cancer while making sure you get enough vitamin D.

There are not many foods which naturally contain vitamin D. Some vitamin D can be found in fatty fish, egg yolk and mushrooms, as well as fortified margarine, milk and milk substitutes.



The amount of vitamin D that is likely to be adequate depends on your age and gender. The Adequate Intake (AI) below reflects the amount estimated to be adequate for most people.


  AI (µg/day)                                                                                                    
Infants (0-12 months) 5
Children (1-13 years) 5
Adolescents (14-18 years) 5
19-50 years 5
51-70 years 10
>70 years 15


Vitamin D deficiency is very common. Although it may not lead to any obvious symptoms, it can have significant health consequences including bone diseases such as rickets, osteomalacia or osteoporosis, if left untreated.

You may be at risk of vitamin D deficiency if you have dark skin or receive little or no sun exposure. If you are at risk or are concerned about your vitamin D levels, seek advice from your doctor.



Too much vitamin D from excess supplementation may cause high levels of calcium in the blood and lead to:

  • calcium deposits in soft tissues such as the heart and lungs,
  • kidney damage and kidney stones, and
  • loss of appetite, weakness, nausea, vomiting and/or constipation.


The content displayed on this webpage is intended for informational purposes and is a guide only. It does not replace or substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Information contained on this webpage must be discussed with an appropriate healthcare professional before making any decisions or taking any action based on the content of this webpage.



Better Health Channel


Medline Plus Medical Encyclopaedia


National Health and Medical Research Council


Stewart R., Griffith Handbook of Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics (2nd edition)