Everyone should be taking vitamin D supplements from October to March, according to new Public Health England (PHE) advice.
The advice follows a Government report from the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN), which recommended a daily intake of 10 micrograms.
However the report says that this level is not achievable through diet during the cooler months, when sunlight, another source of the vitamin, is limited.
Therefore, PHE is advising everyone over the age of one to take supplements in the autumn and winter.
Dr Louis Levy, head of nutrition science at PHE, said: “A healthy, balanced diet and short bursts of sunshine will mean most people get all the vitamin D they need in spring and summer.
“However, everyone will need to consider taking a supplement in the autumn and winter if you don’t eat enough foods that naturally contain vitamin D or are fortified with it.
“And those who don’t get out in the sun or always cover their skin when they do, should take a vitamin D supplement throughout the year.”
The report estimates one-in-five adults and one-in-six children are vitamin D deficient in England.
Vitamin D is necessary for bone and muscle health with low levels of the vitamin leading to brittle bones and rickets in children.
Children between one and four years old are advised to take supplements each day all year.
The same is being advised for children under one years of age, if they do not already consume fortified infant formula.
Adults can obtain small amounts of the vitamin from foods such as oily fish, eggs and fortified cereals.
However, relying on diet alone can cause a deficiency and lead to osteomalacia, which causes severe bone pain and muscle aches.
Claire Severgnini, chief executive of the National Osteoporosis Society said: “The new guidance out today recommends that children over the age of one and adults need 10 micrograms of vitamin D every day to keep their bones strong and healthy, in addition to what we already get through the sun.