Shine On: Why Taking Vitamin D Supplements Are Advised For All this Winter

Vitamin D supplements are due to be offered to around 2.7 million people in England this winter in a bid to further bolster the health of those most vulnerable in our communities.

Vitamin D is essential in maintaining bone, teeth and muscle health and is usually produced naturally by the body with exposure to sunlight; helping the body absorb calcium, magnesium and phosphate.  However, due to both the second lockdown and winter months with reduced levels of sunlight, it has meant that more people have spent an increased time indoors.   Vitamin D deficiency can lead to a loss of bone density, which can contribute to osteoporosis and fractures (broken bones). 

The groups which have been identified to receive the free vitamin supplement are those with serious health conditions, such as those who have previously been asked to ‘shield’ and residents in care homes.  Letters are now in the process of being sent to those deemed to be ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ inviting them to opt-in, with deliveries directly to homes commencing in January 2021 and offering up to a four-month supply. 

However, the advice of taking a Vitamin D supplement is not just restricted to those who are classed as medically vulnerable.  Health Officials recommend everyone taking 10 micrograms of a Vitamin D supplement during normal winter months (October – March).

Although there is limited evidence suggesting that Vitamin D protects or indeed treats Covid-19, Northern Ireland’s Public Health Agency along with the Scottish and Welsh Governments have all offered similar advice during lockdown.

In a recent interview, Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at Public Health England stated: ‘We advise that everyone, particularly the elderly, those who don’t get outside and those with dark skin, take a Vitamin D supplements containing 10 micrograms (400IU) every day’. 

It is recommended that those who are able to purchase a Vitamin D supplement do so immediately, ahead of any free delivery in the new year.  Vitamin D levels can also be effectively increased through a balanced diet, including fatty fish, egg yolks and even mushrooms.

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Carrie Plummer - Editor & Content Manager

Gut Health & Nutrition News

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