PHE Issue New Vitamin D Guidelines

New reports from Public Health England (PHE) advise that 10 micrograms of vitamin D are needed on a daily basis to keep bones, muscles and teeth healthy. This new outlook has the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) and its new review of vitamin D and public health to thank, as the new evidence produced in that report paved the way for these new guidelines.

The main source of vitamin D for most people is the sun, as our skin converts its ultraviolet rays, specifically ultraviolet (UBV) radiation, into the vitamin. It’s estimated that we get approximately 90% of our vitamin D from sun exposure, and the other 10% would be from other food and drinks that contain the vitamin, such as salmon and tuna, or milk and orange juice. While on sunny days most of us will get more than enough vitamin D, it is the winter and autumn seasons that could threaten our intake of it – and it is during these times that people should pay more attention to their vitamin D levels.

There are also other circumstances that can affect what your necessary vtiamin D intake should be. For example, ethnic groups with darker skin may need to consume more vitamin D than the recommended amount, as the pigmentation in their skin reduces the production of the vitamin; which could be particularly worrying when it comes to bone health. Other groups of people that tend to suffer from vitamin D deficiencies are:

  • People with kidney diseases, or diseases that affect the absorption of minerals.
  • People that are lactose intolerant.
  • People that are vegan.
  • People that have difficulties going outside, such as nursing home residents.

This lack of vitamin D can lead to weak bones, and can eventually contribute to the development of osteoporosis. This is a condition that sees bones lose their strength, making them more likely to break or fracture, but can also be used to describe low bone density when measured on a bone density (DXA) scan. Over the age of 50, one in five men and one in two women experience fractures, and most believe this is due to poor bone strength.

This enforces the importance of the new research from PHE, and is a stern reminder of how much we should care about our bones. While the clever design of them means they can be strong without being heavy, vitamin D is considered essential, and it should be considered on a daily basis.

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