PHA recommends daily vitamin D supplement during lockdown
The Public Health Agency (PHA) is recommending that everyone take vitamin D supplements during the lockdown period to help keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy.
Vitamin D is an essential vitamin for everyone and we get it from two main sources, sunlight and food.
Caroline Bloomfield, the PHA’s lead on Nutrition and Healthy Eating, said: “During the coronavirus pandemic the government has advised that we all stay at home, and while many of us will actually be outdoors more than usual if we have gardens or go outside for our once-daily exercise, for some the lockdown will mean spending much more time indoors.
“As a result of being inside more, we may not be getting enough vitamin D from sunlight. We are advising that everyone should consider taking a supplement of vitamin D every day to keep their bones, teeth and muscles healthy.”
Our bodies can make most of the vitamin D that we need from sunlight on our skin during the ‘summer’ months (April to the end of September). Our body also uses the vitamin D from foods like oily fish (such as salmon, mackerel, trout, kippers and sardines), eggs and meat, along with foods that have been fortified with vitamin D such as breakfast cereals and most fat spreads.
For some of us however, sunlight and foods do not provide enough vitamin D, and it is therefore recommended that:
- All infants (breastfed and formula fed) from birth to one year of age unless they are drinking 500ml (1 pint) or more of infant formula each day should take an 8.5-10 microgram supplement every day throughout the year;
- Children aged between 1 and 4 years should take a 10 microgram supplement every day throughout the year;
- Everyone aged 5 years and over (including pregnant and breastfeeding women) should consider taking a 10 microgram supplement every day, particularly between October and March;
- People who are not exposed to much sun or who cover up their skin for cultural reasons and people with dark skin should take a 10 microgram supplement every day throughout the year.
“You can buy vitamin D supplements at most pharmacies and supermarkets but please only buy what you and your family need, to ensure the supply chain is maintained for everyone,” added Caroline.
For more information on vitamin D please visit the PHA website at www.pha.site/vitaminD