Today we welcome new advice released to the government by Public Health England (PHE), which recommends that everyone take a daily vitamin D supplement of 10 micrograms (400IU) to protect bone and muscle health during autumn and winter.

The advice, which sees the supplementation advice broaden from ‘at risk’ groups to everyone, is based on the recommendations of the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) following its review of the evidence on vitamin D and health.

New recommendations

We have been waiting a long time for the SACN report to be published, as the government’s current advice is that only at-risk groups should take a daily vitamin D supplement, yet due to the lack of sunshine in the UK and cloudy conditions more and more of us are depleted in this essential vitamin which can lead to numerous health risks.

While we welcome the new recommendations, we believe that this advice doesn’t go far enough. We believe year-round supplementation to ensure that levels do not drop to insufficient or deficient levels.

Why we need more vitamin D

The guidelines suggest that the majority of the population will get enough vitamin D (400IU/10μg) through sunlight on the skin and through a healthy balanced diet during summer. But even during summer months in the UK, we simply are not getting enough vitamin D. Even on days when the sun is out, we tend to cover up with a high factor sun cream and wear clothing to protect skin, therefore preventing the UVB rays from penetrating the skin.

Just 10 percent of vitamin D is available through diet, and with increasingly indoor lifestyles now the norm, people not sufficiently exposed to the sun may not synthesise enough vitamin D in order to meet physiological requirements. The recommendation is for 400iu for all ages, though an adult requires a much higher nutrient intake than that of a toddler.

Supplementation is an easy and cost-effective method to prevent vitamin D deficiency. With vitamin D deficiency being linked to numerous auto-immune diseases, simply supplementing throughout the year could help reduce a number of health issues and potentially save the NHS thousands.

That’s why we’re proud to support Vitamin D Awareness Week whose aim is to educate the nation to the dangers of vitamin D deficiency and spread the message of not only the importance of supplementation but also how easy it is to rectify this situation. With the aim to eradicate vitamin D deficiency in the UK by 2020.

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