Why is Vitamin D so important right now?
In light of the current lockdown situation, Public Health England has updated its recommendations on Vitamin D supplementation. All adults and children are now advised to take 10µg per day tokeep their bones, muscles and teeth healthy. But why is vitamin D so very important at this time?
Firstly, vitamin D is generally made by the body on exposure to sunlight. Although it is beautifully sunny at the moment, we are currently under lockdown conditions. This means that for many, the opportunity to spend time outside is severely restricted. This, coupled with the fact that vitamin D is very hard to obtain through dietary sources, has led to an increased concern that people could become deficient in this vital nutrient.
WHAT DOES VITAMIN D DO?
Vitamin D helps to ensure that the body can properly absorb calcium, and supports healthy bones, teeth and muscles. None of us want to come out of lockdown with weak bones! However, there is another very important role for vitamin D. It supports a healthy immune system in children and adults – something we all want as COVID-19 spreads through the population.
VITAMIN D AND IMMUNITY
There have also been many reports recently that vitamin D, and its role in our immune health, may play a direct role in our battle against coronavirus. Newspapers have reported on research which suggests vitamin D intake may aid resistance to respiratory infections. Another article raised the possibility that people with low levels of vitamin D MAY have a weaker immune response when exposed to COVID-19. More research is being carried out into this area.
Whilst these investigations being are carried out, it cannot be denied that things which support our health – whether that is dietary choices, lifestyle changes or food supplements – are of great interest at this time. Especially if it is known that they are important to a healthy immune response. Add to this the lockdown situation, and the fact that studies demonstrate that many in the UK – indeed up to 90% of the multi-ethnic population – could be vitamin D deficient, it would seem that supporting our body with a daily dose of vitamin D could indeed be a sensible idea.
Written by Jenny Logan DNMed (Jenny is a nutritional therapist, who has worked with clients in health food stores and private clinics for over 20 years.)