Vitamin D is essential for healthy bones, teeth and muscles and is especially important during the winter season. With shorter daylight and less time spent outdoors, Britons are urged to stock up on vitamin D supplements to ensure they are healthier.
A coronavirus update on the NHS website says: ‘It’s important to take vitamin D because you may have been indoors more than usual this year.
“You should take 10 micrograms (400 IU) of vitamin D per day between October and early March to keep your bones and muscles healthy.
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According to the initiative, deliveries will be made to nursing home residents and clinically extremely vulnerable.
These people are at a higher risk of vitamin D deficiency because these groups have spent more time indoors this year.
The body creates vitamin D from direct sunlight on the skin outside.
Thus, all health care facilities will automatically receive a supply for their residents, while those on the Clinically Extremely Vulnerable List will receive a letter urging them to “agree” to a supply being delivered directly to their homes.
Deliveries will be free, starting in January, and will provide four months of extras to last through the winter months.
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Health and Social Secretary of State Matt Hancock said: ‘Due to the incredible sacrifices the British people have made to control the virus, many of us have spent more time inside this year and could be vitamin D deficient.
“The government is taking action to ensure that vulnerable people can access a free supply to make them last through the darker winter months.
“It will support their overall health, keep their bones and muscles healthy and crucially reduce the pressure on our NHS.
“A number of studies indicate that vitamin D could have a positive impact on protection against COVID-19.
“I have asked NICE and PHE to re-examine the existing evidence on the link between COVID-19 and vitamin D to make sure we explore any potential opportunities to defeat this virus.
What are the symptoms of vitamin D deficiency?
Vitamin D deficiency is a lack of vitamin D in the body.
Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency can include muscle weakness, pain, fatigue, and depression.
Foods are a good source of vitamins, and things like salmon, eggs, cod liver oil, and tuna contain vitamin D.
Dr Alison Tedstone, Chief Nutritionist at PHE, said, “Vitamin D is important for the health of our bones and muscles.
“We advise everyone, especially the elderly, those who do not go out and those with dark skin, to take a vitamin D supplement containing 10 micrograms (400 IU) every day.
“This year, the advice is more important than ever, as more people are spending more time indoors, which is why the government will help clinically extremely vulnerable people get vitamin D.”
Public Health England advises people who are at greater risk of not getting enough vitamin D to take a vitamin D supplement all year round.
A range of products and doses are available in supermarkets, pharmacies and other retailers.
Anyone who is able to purchase a vitamin D supplement and start taking it now is advised to do so, even if you are also eligible for delivery later in the year.