Getting outside in the sunshine is good for your spirit and your health. Having the sun’s rays on your skin for just 15 minutes a day, two or three times a week* helps produce enough of the essential nutrient Vitamin D, which is needed in small amounts to help your body work properly. If that’s not possible supplements should be considered.
*This applies from April to September, between the hours of 11am and 3pm without sunscreen.
During lockdown Public Health England issued new guidance encouraging Vitamin D supplementation to the public who are being forced to spend more time indoors.
Vitamin D is needed by your body to help absorb calcium from food, and to keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy. There is also some evidence that Vitamin D can help to protect against acute respiratory infections.
Although the main source of Vitamin D is the sun, the following foods can help boost Vitamin D levels:
In the UK, cows' milk is generally not a good source of vitamin D because it is not fortified, as it is in some other countries.
Vitamin D supplements are recommended for people aged over 65 years of age. This is especially important during lockdown and for those with limited mobility who can’t get out in to the sun. Care homes can play an important role in ensuring all residents take Vitamin D supplements to support good health.
It is also recommended that pregnant or breastfeeding women, babies and children age six months to five years take vitamin D supplements. These are available free of charge to those eligible for Healthy Start Vouchers. Ask your Health Visitor or Children’s Centre for more information.
You may have seen in the media that researchers are looking at whether a countries Vitamin D Levels and COVID-19 mortality rates correlate. As a nutritionist this research is something that I will be following with interest. Having said that the NHS website states that there is no evidence that Vitamin D reduces the risk of Corona Virus.
Enjoy the sunshine!
Healthy Lifestyles Nutritionist
After graduating with a First Class BSc Hons Degree in Nutrition and Health, Val joined Blackpool Council’s Public Health Team as a Healthy Lifestyles Nutritionist. Val enjoys her role working with food outlets, catering teams and schools across Blackpool, encouraging them to adopt healthier cooking practices and promote healthier choices. Val is a Registered Nutritionist with the Association for Nutrition and is accredited to deliver community based cooking sessions as part of Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food Cooking Programme.
Daneshkhah et al (2020): The Possible Role of Vitamin D in Suppressing Cytokine Storm and Associated Mortality in COVID-19 Patients
Ilie et al (2020); The role of Vitamin D in the prevention of coronavirus disease 2019 infection and mortality. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40520-020-01570-8
Healthy Start Website (2020)
NHS Website (2020)
British Dietetic Association Website June 2020
Get tested if you have any of these symptoms, a sexual partner has symptoms or you’re worried after having sex without a condom. Many STIs have no symptoms at all, like HIV. The only way to know for sure is to get tested.