New draft guidelines by the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition suggest that everyone in the UK should take vitamin D supplements. They say this would counter the lack of sunshine we receive (for most of us sunlight is our only source of vitamin D as the amount in food is negligible).
Currently the government recommends that only people ‘at risk’ of a deficiency (pregnant women, children and old people) should take supplements.
Because it is impossible to know who is getting enough vitamin D, the committee is considering a catch-all recommendation, and says that everyone should take a 10 microgram pill daily.
One in five adults in England have a vitamin D deficiency. In extreme circumstances this can lead to brittle bones and rickets. This is because our bodies can’t process calcium properly without vitamin D. A deficiency can also lead to cardiovascular disease and depression.
Earlier this year NICE (the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) suggested that there is a ‘hidden epidemic’ of vitamin D deficiency, and said that supplements should be taken more widely.