Government health experts recommendations after linking lack of vitamin D to health problems
Government’s independent Scientific Advisory Body on Nutrition (SACN) suggest that people living in UK should boost vitamin D intake, due to lack of sun in the country causing associated health problems, like heart disease, type 1 diabetes, cancer and multiple sclerosis. Also, vitamin D is essential for keeping teeth and bones healthy.
The British dreary weather is affecting much of the population by not providing enough amounts of the essential vitamin from sunlight. Natural food sources alone are not enough to boost levels and the experts recommend daily extra-intake from supplements.
Pregnant women, small children, elderly people and people with darker skin as well those who do not expose their skin to sunlight are advised to daily take vitamin D supplements.
Dr Adrian Martineau, an expert on vitamin D’s effect on health at Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, explained: “Before this, the general assumption was that adults were able to make all the vitamin D they needed from sunshine, and didn’t need to have any dietary or supplementary intake. The action of sunlight on the skin in the UK is highly variable for different populations depending on the time of year and the latitude – you’ll get more UVB in Brighton than in John O’Groats – and finally, how much skin is exposed and the colour of skin. SACN was right to say that we can’t rely on sunshine in the UK to meet the vitamin D requirements. That’s a major and important change. It’s a big step forward that this is now officially recognised.”
The Draft Vitamin D and Health report said: “Since it is difficult to achieve (safe intake) from natural food sources alone, it is recommended that consideration is given to strategies for the UK population to achieve the recommended nutrient intake.”
As just few foods are recognised to be good sources of vitamin D (such as oily fish and eggs), the best source of vitamin D is the sunlight.