While most nutritionists nag and insist that all anyone needs is a healthy, well-balanced diet, rich in fruits and vegetables, UK government guidelines are advising people to start taking vitamin D supplements in order to help their bodies deal with the lack of sunshine in the country.
The government health experts warn people that the current weather prevents them from receiving a healthy amount of vitamin D, an essential element that builds up in the skin when we expose ourselves to UV light. Natural food sources have not been able to make up for the lack of sunlight, regardless of people’s diet.
Oliver Gillie, field expert, has been making this recommendation for years as he explains that “Everybody knows that we live a far more indoor lifestyle than even our parents did”. He went on to add that people sit inside the house watching TV and browsing the internet for many hours on a daily basis.
And on top of this, “a lot of people actively avoid the sun because dermatologists have been telling them it causes skin cancer”. While he aggress that people have to take care and avoid burning themselves, he also reminds everyone that sunlight is crucial to our health because it’s “our primary source of vitamin D”.
Vitamin D has been credited by health experts for strengthening bones and teeth, as well as preventing various biochemical issues such as cancer, heart disease, type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis and musculoskeletal problems.
The Scientific Advisory Body On Nutrition (SACN) wrote the guidelines out of concern, with professor Hilary Powers, chair of SACN, saying that populations across Europe are starting to take less vitamin D than their bodies require. And what’s even more alarming, is that there are virtually no good public health strategies that address this issue.
She also went on to explain that taking vitamin D supplements would serve as a “precautionary measure” that keeps individuals from developing other, more serious medical conditions.
The main problem with the proposal is that public health experts in Great Britain have generally advised against taking supplements, so accepting the new recommendation would mean that they also have to accept a major change in their own policy.
In fact, the government currently says that children age five (5) and younger, pregnant women, elders over the age of 65, individuals who have darker skin and those who don’t frequently expose their skin to sunshine are the only ones who should take vitamin D supplements on a regular basis.
But Public Health England recently published a paper revealing that there are 10 million people who have low vitamin D levels in England alone. What this means is that one in five (1 in 5) adults and one in six (1 in 6) children should be taking vitamin D supplements.
Children in particular are in danger as they are vulnerable to “the deficiency diseases of rickets”, but adults are not safe either as they are vulnerable to osteomalacia.
Gillie also mentioned that those living in Scotland should be even more careful than the rest as they get a lot more cloud coverage.
Image Source: telegraph.co.uk