Thursday, 23 April 2020


Public Health England is recommending people consider taking daily vitamin D supplements throughout the spring and summer as the coronavirus lockdown continues.

Normally, many of us get enough of it by spending time outdoors. Our skin makes it when exposed to the sun.

The sunshine vitamin, along with others, can help our body stay fit to ward off illness and infections - important during a pandemic.

So who might need supplements?

What is the advice?

People in the UK are already advised to consider taking a supplement of 10 micrograms a day during the winter months (from October to March), and all year round if we aren't spending much time outdoors.

Public Health England is concerned that people could be missing out on the vitamin during the coronavirus pandemic when we are being advised to stay at home more.

It recommends vitamin D throughout the year if:

you are not often outdoors - if you are housebound because you are shielding, for example

you live in a care home

you usually wear clothes that cover up most of your skin when outdoors

People with dark skin may also not be getting enough even if they spend time outdoors.

Scottish and Welsh governments have issued the same advice.

Sara Stanner of the British Nutrition Foundation said: "Unfortunately, as the effects of coronavirus continue, many of us are limited in the time we can spend outdoors. Correctly abiding by government rules and staying at home is immensely important and, while many of us have limited access to sunlight, this means we need to take a little extra care to keep our vitamin D levels healthy."

Why do we need vitamin D?

Vitamin D is important for healthy bones, teeth and muscles. A lack of it can lead to a bone deformity illness called rickets in children and a similar bone weakness condition called osteomalacia in adults.

Some studies suggest avoiding deficiency helps our resilience to common colds and flu, although there is no evidence that vitamin D boosts the immune system.

Should I take lots of it?

No. Although vitamin D supplements are very safe, taking more than the recommended amount every day can be dangerous in the long run.

If you choose to take vitamin D supplements:

Children aged 1-10 should not have more than 50 micrograms a day

Infants (under 12 months) should not have more than 25 micrograms a day

Adults should not have more than 100 micrograms a day and if they are going to take supplements the recommended amount is 10 micrograms a day

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