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M&S Health & Nutrition

Vitamin D in the Diet

Vitamin D in the Diet

Why do we need vitamin D?

Vitamin D is well recognised for its role in bone health. It helps our bodies absorb calcium and phosphorous from our diet which are both essential for building and maintaining strong bones and teeth.

As our understanding of vitamin D continues to grow, there is also more evidence to link vitamin D with other conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes however more research is continuing in this area to understand the relationship fully.

How can I include vitamin D in my diet?

Soft Half & Half Rolls

As there are only a few food sources of vitamin D in our diet, it’s expected that we get the majority of vitamin D from sunlight. Our skin can make vitamin D from the exposure to sunlight during the Summer months in the UK, which is then stored in our bodies to be used during winter when sunlight is too weak and less available.

However, findings from the UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey (a yearly survey of the Nation’s diet and nutrition status) has shown increasing numbers of people who have low levels of the vitamin, particularly during the winter months.

Yet, including more dietary sources of vitamin D each day, particularly during the winter months, can help to boost your levels of the important vitamin. Foods that are rich in vitamin D include oily fish (e.g. trout, salmon, mackerel, sardines), eggs, liver, fortified margarines and other fortified foods e.g. cereals, yogurts and bread.

How can M&S help?

Melba Toast Loaf

M&S believes healthy eating should be easy and enjoyable, which is why all our breads and bread rolls are made with a yeast that naturally produces vitamin D. Each portion is a source of vitamin D, providing at least 15% of your daily requirement, making it easier for you to include more of this important vitamin in your daily diet.

We also have a selection of yogurts and dairy shot drinks which are enriched with vitamin D as part of our Active Health range. Find out more here.

Can I include too much vitamin D in my diet?

There are only a few types of foods which contain vitamin D, these include oily fish (e.g. trout, salmon, mackerel or sardines), eggs, liver, fortified margarine and other fortified foods such as cereals and M&S bread.

Including more of these foods in your daily diet is a great way to boost your vitamin D levels. Plus, even if you include all of these foods in your diet each day it is highly unlikely to exceed the upper limit of vitamin D intake (25 micrograms a day). The table below shows the average content of foods rich in vitamin D and what this would equate to in a day.

FoodVitamin D
M&S vitamin D bread, 2 slices 0.75 ug
10g fortified margarine 0.8 ug
1 fillet mackerel 8 ug
1 yogurt enriched with vitamin D 2.3 ug
2 eggs 1.8 ug
TOTAL 13.7 ug

Most supplements include a maximum of 10 ug (micrograms) of vitamin D a day, with the average content between 3-5 ug. So even with the above foods combined with a supplement the daily intake would still be within the upper limit for vitamin D.

Is your bread still suitable for vegetarians?

Yes, the yeast naturally produces a form of vitamin D that is still suitable for vegetarian diets.

If you want to find out more please get in touch at nutrition@marksandspencer.com