Industry group urges UK government to prioritise vitamin D during pandemic

By Will Chu

- Last updated on GMT

Industry group urges UK to prioritise vit D during pandemic

Related tags Anh Vitamin d coronavirus

The Alliance for Natural Health International joins growing calls for vitamin D to play a more prominent role in the coronavirus fight with the launch of a campaign to monitor and increase population levels.

The group’s 'Test & Take: Vitamin D' campaign’ recommends 100 - 150 nanomols per litre (nmol/L) as an optimal vitamin D range – around ten times more than the 10 micrograms (μg) or 400 International Units (IU) the UK government advocates.

The campaign​ also wants to see the testing of vitamin D levels taken more seriously owing to common differences between individuals in levels of circulating vitamin D even at the same levels of intake.

As part of efforts to highlight the vitamin’s benefits, the Alliance has sent an open letter to the UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock, the second one this year.

“We are aware that you are under pressure to recommend vitamin D and initiate trials to evaluate its protective effects,”​ the letter states.

“We are also aware that the Government recommendation is restricted to delivering just 10 (μg) or (400IU) of vitamin D.

“They are the lowest recommendations of any governments in relation to covid-19. Italy, by comparison, is recommending 50µg (2000IU).”

Two key recommendations

It goes on to detail two key recommendations in which the UK recommendations for vitamin D for adults are adjusted to a ‘level that reflects the science in relation to immunological protection against covid-19.’

The Alliance also requests that the government initiate a scientifically meaningful trial in which vitamin D supplements are provided to deprived communities, particularly those in the North of England that provide at least 100µg (4000IU) of vitamin D3 daily for adults.

The campaign comes as the UK government gradually warms to the science pointing to the vitamin’s potential during this lockdown period.

Earlier this week​, the country’s UK Prime Minister was considering the evidence as part of a decision to offer free vitamin D supplies to those shielding in a scheme that mirrors that of Scotland.

In a Commons session on Tuesday, Boris Johnson told Members he would be providing an update on the plan, which First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon had already announced.

At the end of October, it was revealed that the most vulnerable Scots were to be given a free four-month supply of vitamin D supplements to help to boost their immune system.

In Scotland, Healthy Start vitamins, which contain Vitamin D, are already available free to all pregnant women in Scotland since Spring 2017.

Women and children who qualify for the Best Start Foods scheme in Scotland can also get free supplements containing the recommended amounts of vitamin D.

Welsh reservations

Both the governments’ intentions appear to contradict those outlined by the Welsh government, which updated its guidance this week asking residents to follow established recommendations.

“There have been some reports about vitamin D reducing the risk of coronavirus. But there is currently not enough evidence to support taking vitamin D to prevent or treat coronavirus.

“This year it's important to take 10µg of vitamin D a day between October and early March, as you may have been indoors more than usual. This will help to keep your bones and muscles healthy​,” the advice states.

“You can buy vitamin D supplements or vitamin drops containing vitamin D (for under 5s) at most pharmacies and supermarkets.

“Women and children who qualify for the Healthy Start scheme can get free vitamins. Taking too much vitamin D can be harmful, please don’t buy or use more than you need.”

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