22nd April 2020 

BNF supports Government advice to consider taking vitamin D supplements through spring and summer while under lockdown.

With many people experiencing reduced access to sunlight while staying at home, Public Health England (PHE) has reissued its recommendation for vitamin D supplementation, advising that we should all consider taking a 10 microgram vitamin D supplement throughout spring and summer while the lockdown continues, because we may not be getting enough vitamin D from sun exposure. PHE’s advice on vitamin D is not about preventing coronavirus but for maintaining muscle and bone health.

The British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) supports PHE’s advice, agreeing that, while most people can get enough of the vitamins and minerals they need through a healthy, balanced diet; it is difficult to get sufficient amounts of vitamin D through food sources alone. Skin synthesis in response to spring and summer sunshine is the main source for most of us.

Vitamin D is essential for keeping bones and muscles healthy. While the role of vitamin D in bone health is well recognised, it is also involved in supporting the immune system, along with other nutrients, helping it to function correctly. Evidence suggests that vitamin D may increase resistance to common colds and flu, particularly for people who have low vitamin D status. But it’s important to note that we don’t currently have evidence that vitamin D can reduce the risk of coronavirus infection.

While it is difficult to get the recommended amount of vitamin D through diet alone, dietary supply remains important. Vitamin D is found naturally in oily fish, including salmon, mackerel and sardines, as well as eggs, some mushrooms, and in foods fortified with vitamin D such as breakfast cereals, fat spreads and yogurts. Red meat can also contribute to vitamin D intakes. For information about food sources of vitamin D click here.

For those looking to increase their vitamin D intake from food you could start the day with a breakfast cereal fortified with vitamin D, have some poached eggs or an omelette at lunch time, and then an oily fish-based dinner – you can use canned or fresh oily fish like salmon.

Take a look at our Vital Vitamin D resource below:

For more information on PHE’s updated vitamin D recommendations, please visit: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/vitamin-d/