BRITS should take vitamin D supplements during coronavirus lockdown, the NHS says. 

The vitamin is produced by exposing the skin to sunshine and is essential for a healthy immune system.

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However, health chiefs have issued an update on the NHS website saying that as we spend an increasing amount of time indoors during the coronavirus pandemic, Brits should take a vitamin D supplement to compensate for the lack of sunshine.

It reads: "Consider taking ten micrograms of vitamin D a day to keep your bones and muscles healthy.

"This is because you may not be getting enough vitamin D from sunlight if you’re indoors most of the day.

"You can buy vitamin D supplements at most pharmacies and supermarkets. Do not buy more than you need."

The advice comes after it was revealed scientists are set to investigate whether vitamin D can help coronavirus patients fight the disease.

Consider taking ten micrograms of vitamin D a day

A research team from the University of Granada in Spain is to run a ten-week trial involving 200 Covid-19 patients to establish if taking the "sunshine vitamin" can help fight the illness.

The scientist say a lack of vitamin D in calves is thought to have been the main cause of bovine coronavirus infections in the past.

The study aims to investigate whether the “use of vitamin D induces significant improvements of health… as well as preventing health deterioration”.

Dr Jenna Macciochi, of the University of Sussex, said: “If you are deficient in vitamin D, you are three to four times more likely to catch a cold.

“It therefore makes sense a viral respiratory infection like Covid-19 would be worse if you were vitamin D-deficient.”


What's the recommended daily dose of vitamin D?

Public Health England is recommending Brits to consider taking vitamin D supplements due to the lockdown.

Although they are very safe, taking more than the recommended amount every day can be dangerous in the long run.

Below are the recommended daily doses depending on age:

  • Children aged 1-10 shouldn't have more than 50 micrograms a day
  • Infants (under 12 months) shouldn't have more than 25 micrograms a day
  • Adults shouldn't have more than 100 micrograms a day and if they're taking supplements the recommended amount is 10 micrograms a day

Despite this, the NHS say that there is currently "no evidence" that vitamin D reduces the risk of coronavirus.

Commenting on the advice, Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at PHE said: "With the nation staying in to save lives and protect the NHS, many people are spending more time indoors and may not get all the vitamin D they need from sunlight.

"To protect their bone and muscle health, they should consider taking a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D – there is no sufficient evidence to support recommending vitamin D for reducing the risk of Covid-19."

PHE has previously recommended everyone should take a ten microgram supplement of vitamin D during the autumn and winter months, the Telegraph reports.

More sunshine in spring and summer meant this was no longer necessary for most people but this has been updated to recommend everyone should continue taking it.

There is no sufficient evidence to support recommending vitamin D for reducing the risk of Covid-19

In the past, research has shown those who take the 2p-a-pill “sunshine vitamin” regularly cut their chances of respiratory infection by 12 per cent — the protection level the flu vaccine offers.

And there is evidence to suggest those with respiratory problems can lower the risks with the tablets.

A study by Queen Mary University London found those with the biggest deficiencies who took it daily cut their risk by half.

Vitamin D is thought to fend off respiratory infections by boosting antibiotic-like substances in the lungs.

Study leader Professor Adrian Martineau said 3.25 million fewer people get at least one acute respiratory infection each year if everyone took a daily or weekly vitamin D supplement.

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Prof Adrian Martineau said: “This research has yielded the first definitive evidence that vitamin D really does protect against respiratory infections.

“Fortification provides a steady, low-level intake of vitamin D that has virtually eliminated profound deficiency in several countries.”

Vitamin D is vital to help your body absorb calcium as well as strengthening the immune system.

It is found in:

  • Oily fish such as salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel
  • Fortified foods such as fat spreads and some breakfast cereals
  • Red meat
  • Liver
  • Egg yolks

However, most people do not get enough.

Studies show around one in five adults are thought to be lacking in the “sunshine vitamin”, but 79 per cent ignore Government prompts to take a supplement.

The body makes vitamin D when exposed to sunlight – so those in cooler and less sunny climates, like the UK, have a higher risk of being vitamin D deficient.
People with darker skin need more sunlight than those with pale skin to generate enough vitamin D.
The most obvious places to buy vitamin D tablets and supplements is at pharmacies and supermarkets.

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Asda has listed different brands of vitamin D as in stock, with prices starting from £1 for a pack with 120 tablets.

While both Morrisons and Tesco are selling 90 vitamin D tablets for £3.

Sainsbury's currently doesn't have any vitamin D tablets for adults in stock, but is selling 30-packs of Haliborange Kids vitamin D tablets for £3.50.

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