NHS officials are urging people to take vitamin D supplements as they are spending more time indoors during the coronavirus lockdown.
Most people get their vitamin D from sunlight, typically from late March to late September. The NHS advice has been to take supplements during autumn and winter.
But with Britain in lockdown as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, the NHS has updated its advice and recommends people ‘consider taking 10 micrograms of vitamin D a day to keep your bones and muscles healthy'.
‘This is because you may not be getting enough vitamin D from sunlight if you’re indoors most of the day,’ Public Health England said.
Updated advice said that while there had been some news reports about vitamin D reducing the risk of coronavirus, ‘ there is no evidence that this is the case.’
The public have been advised to buy vitamin D supplements at most pharmacies and supermarkets but not buy more than is needed.
Commenting on the advice, Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at Public Health England, said: ‘With the nation staying in to save lives and protect the NHS, many people are spending more time indoors and may not get all the vitamin D they need from sunlight.
‘To protect their bone and muscle health, they should consider taking a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D – there is no sufficient evidence to support recommending vitamin D for reducing the risk of Covid-19.’
Graham Keen, executive director of the Health Food Manufacturers Association, added: 'Whilst vitamin D supplementation has long been recommended for key population groups, this broadened advice is welcome to help everyone maintain healthy joints and muscles.'
The British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) supports PHE’s advice. Sara Stanner, science director, BNF, said: 'Unfortunately, as the effects of coronavirus continue, many of us are limited in the time we can spend outdoors. Correctly abiding by government rules and staying at home is immensely important and, while many of us have limited access to sunlight, this means we need to take a little extra care to keep our vitamin D levels healthy.'