United Kingdom government officials are proposing plans whereby everyone should consider taking Vitamin D supplements to counter the lack of sunshine in the UK.
The Scientific Advisory Committee draft guidelines on Nutrition suggest, from the age of one, 10 microgram pills be taken to ensure people get enough. The plans are now being consulted on until 23 September 2015.
Current advice is only at risk groups – including pregnant women, under fives and over 65s and those with darker skin – should take Vitamin D supplements. The risk of getting too much Vitamin D is considered to be extremely low.
The news comes after the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), which advises the NHS on treatments, suggested Vitamin D should be given more widely to counter a hidden epidemics of deficiency. National surverys suggest that around a fifth of adults and 8 to 24% of children may have low Vitamin D status.
People get most of their Vitamin D from the action of sunlight on their skin. However, from mid-October to the beginning of April in the UK there is no ambient ultraviolet sunlight of the appropriate wavelength. The amount of Vitamin D in food is also of a concern as there is very little amounts,if any, in food, unlike many of the the other Vitamins.
The low level of sunlight during winter months means people in the UK are at risk.
The NICE guidelines called for more supplements that are available and suitable and certified for those who are most at-risk.