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?
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.
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.
Can it stop coronavirus? No. There is no evidence that it reduces the risk of catching or getting ill with coronavirus. But experts do think that it may have benefits during the pandemic. Vitamin D supplements will improve the health of people who are deficient. (Source: drawn from BBC news)