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The benefits of vitamin D supplementation

August 15, 2016

Dr Millicent Stone discusses new guidance about vitamin D supplementation.

Vitamin D is extremely important for health and wellbeing and the maintenance of good bone health. Deficiency in Vitamin D can lead to osteoporosis and fractures and also osteomalacia, otherwise known as Rickets and deformed bones. There is emerging but limited evidence of links with cancer, diabetes, multiple sclerosis and heart disease although ongoing research is needed before definitive guidance can be issued on the role of Vitamin D and supplementation in prevention of these conditions.

The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition has in conjunction with Public Health in England, conducted a national diet and nutrition survey 2008 to 2012 and this showed that 23% of adults aged 19 to 64 and 21% of adults over 65 and above and 22% of children aged 11 to 18 have low levels of Vitamin D in their blood. Low levels of Vitamin D insufficiency is different to deficiency.

The Department of Health and Public Health England have updated their guidance and suggested that in the autumn and winter months, individuals should consider supplementation at 10 mcg which equivocates to 400 iu of Vitamin D. Previous guidance suggested that only individuals in high risk groups such as younger children, those individuals who need to cover up for cultural reasons, anybody breastfeeding or people who have to stay indoors who are housebound etc., would take supplementation, thus the guidance differs from what was previously issued.

For those individuals who are deficient in Vitamin D the requirements would differ and these individuals should consult a doctor and should not consider that the supplementation at 10 mcg a day is sufficient for their needs. This is becoming an increasingly important issue as more and more individuals are suffering the ill effects of low vitamin D in terms of reduced bone and muscle health.

Website link: http://www.bbc.com/news/health-36846894

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