Millions of Brits wrongly think you can get vitamin D through your clothes, while wearing sunscreen or when sat indoors by a glass window – instead of from simply spending time outside in the sunshine.
A poll of 2,000 adults, found half know that vitamin D is ‘good for you’ – but don’t actually know what it does and how important it is.
And while 74 per cent are aware you can get vitamin D by going out in the sun, only 36 per cent know you can also get it by eating oily fish, while just one in 10 named cheese as a good food source.
Others incorrectly believe you can get useable levels of vitamin D from a sunbed or from fake tan.
The study, commissioned by Vitabiotics’ Ultra Vitamin D also found 32 per cent of participants have no idea which vitamins and minerals their body needs to function properly, with many confused about the right foods to eat to boost zinc, vitamin C and calcium levels.
The findings come after the NHS encouraged people to take a vitamin D supplement due to fears the lockdown may mean people staying indoors aren’t getting what they need from sunlight.
As such the UK Department of Health now recommends that everybody takes a daily supplement containing 10μg of vitamin D to contribute to maintenance of normal bones and muscle function.
Vitamin D also contributes to the normal function of the immune system.
A spokesman for Vitabiotics, said: “There are still myths and misconceptions around vitamin D – which means people may not be getting all that they need.
“Over the last two decades vitamin D has become widely understood to play a role in a huge range of areas, from the immune system to muscle function, and of course strong bones, and our requirements are much higher than previously understood.”
The study also found almost one in four believe cow’s milk in the UK is considered to be a good source of vitamin D, however, this is incorrect due to it not being fortified, unlike in some other countries.
Almost six in 10 were unaware the sunlight in the UK doesn’t contain enough UVB radiation – needed to make vitamin D – during the winter months.
And one in twenty thought you could boost your levels of the vitamin from fake tan.
One in five also incorrectly believed you could get enough vitamin D from a sunbed with just 31 per cent aware that sunscreen can prevent you from making it.
More than a quarter think that sitting indoors, by a closed window, allows vitamin D to be made by the body, but the glass actually blocks the rays needed for this to happen.
And 57 per cent had no idea sunlight needs to be absorbed by skin which isn’t covered with clothes, in order to make vitamin D.
It also emerged that half didn’t know the amount of vitamin D needed changes depending on your skin colour.
One in four didn’t know that the vitamin can be good for boosting your immune system while 20 per cent were unaware of its role in absorbing calcium from your diet.
But half worry about the amount of vitamin D they get, with 67 per cent of adults admitting they have days where they don’t get out into direct sunlight at all.
And for a tenth of those polled, via OnePoll, this can happen on as many as four days a week.
As a result, only 46 per cent think they get enough vitamin D each day.
Almost half (48 per cent) have also made a conscious effort to boost their vitamin D levels, with four in 10 more aware of it now the lockdown has forced them to spend longer than usual indoors.
A spokesman for Vitabiotics’ Ultra Vitamin D, added: “What’s most encouraging is that so many people are now taking steps to increase their vitamin D levels.
“With the Department of Health now recommending everyone in the UK considers taking a supplement, this positive health move is set to continue.”
How well do you know your vitamin D? Take the quiz to test your knowledge here.