Vitamin D is commonly known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’ because it is produced when skin is exposed to sunlight.
Absorbing enough is essential for health as it helps to build strong bones and boosts the immune system.
Recent research by Queen Mary University of London has revealed deficiency could protect against severe asthma attacks.
Despite its importance, it is thought that most people in the UK are deficinent in the key nutrient.
Last year the UK government recommended that everyone should take a 10mcg supplement everyday day.
This is slightly less than current US guidelines which suggest people take between 10 and 20mcg a day.
However, many experts believe this is still far too low, and that consuming more could lead to a number of health benefits.
Research has shown that taking a higher amount could help protect against bowel cancer.
Scientists discovered that those with the highest blood levels – meaning over 33 ng/ml – of vitamin D had a 50 per cent lower risk of developing the cancer.
Half of people could achieve these higher blood levels by taking 25mcg daily, while consuming 50mcg could help the remainder.
Additionally, taking 25mcg was found to reduce heart disease risk by ten per cent.
However, you should never consume more than 100mcg in a day as this could cause vomiting, abdominal pain, muscle weakness and loss of appetite.
Whatever the amount you decide to take, you should always choose vitamin D3.
This is twice as effective at raising blood levels of vitamin D as taking vitamin D2.
The vitamin can also be found in foods such as fish, beef liver, egg yolks and cheese.
However, it is usually not possible to consume enough from food alone.