Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, the UK Government recommendation was that people in Britain should be taking a daily supplement of 10mcg during the Winter months, between October and March. Those unable to spend much time outdoors were recommended to take a supplement all year round.
Sadly, due to lockdown, none of us are currently able to spend adequate time outdoors for our bodies to make sufficient amounts of vitamin D to keep us healthy from sunlight alone. And it’s almost impossible to get it purely from our food.
People at particular risk have traditionally included those who are housebound, live in a care home, wear clothing which covers most of the skin while outdoors, and those with darker skin. But now, we are all likely to be at risk.
That’s why both the UK and Scottish Governments have updated their advice on vitamin D supplementation and are urging everyone, including children and pregnant and breastfeeding women, to consider taking a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D this Spring and Summer.
It’s thought that taking vitamin D supplements throughout 2020 could help to combat some of the potential health effects of lockdown.
Kirkcaldy’s Health Food and More, which is Fife’s only independent health store to currently remain open, says a daily dietary supplement of vitamin D – otherwise dubbed the ‘sunshine vitamin’ – could help to support the immune system and ward off illness and infections.
Consultant medical herbalist Keren Brynes Maclean explained: “While we’re in lockdown, it’s unlikely that many of us will be getting our recommended daily amount of vitamin D from the sunshine or our diets alone.
“Our skin makes vitamin D when exposed to the sun, but this is unlikely to happen naturally, in sufficient amounts, during lockdown.”
There is plenty of scientific research to suggest that taking vitamin D supplements can help to support overall immunity.
As lockdown continues – and despite a gradual easing – Water for Health founder Roddy McDonald says more and more people may be at risk of vitamin D deficiency, such as families who live in flats and are unable to spend adequate time outdoors.
He said: “Vitamin D is really important for healthy bones, teeth and muscles. A lack of it could lead to bone deformities such as rickets, which has long been thought of as a disease of the middle ages and could cause weak or soft bones in children.”
Roddy recommends that the quickest way to get vitamin D into the bloodstream is by taking oral or sublingual supplements. This means the supplements are absorbed though the tongue and quickly released into the body.
Health Food and More is currently offering a postal service whereby customers can place orders over the phone and have their vitamins delivered, while sublingual vitamin D is available online at Water for Health.