Pharmacists encourage increased intake of Vitamin D supplements

CarePlus Pharmacy is urging people in Ireland to consider adding a Vitamin D supplement to their diet.

The appeal’s been issued as discussion continues among medical and scientific experts about whether Vitamin D may play an important role in battling coronavirus.

“We’ve known for many years about how important Vitamin D is for the body so if it does protect against Covid-19, then it’s another great reason to keep on top of your intake. People in Ireland have earned a reputation for being at risk of Vitamin D deficiency so it’s a good idea to chat to your Pharmacist about it,” CarePlus Pharmacist, Cormac Spooner, said.

Here are the key things you need to know about Vitamin D

• It’s made naturally in our bodies when we’re exposed to sunlight. Spending a lot of time indoors, such as during coronavirus restrictions, or during winter conditions, will reduce your natural vitamin D production.

• Vitamin D is important for healthy bones and teeth.

• Vitamin D occurs naturally in eggs and oily fish, and is added to some ‘fortified’ foods, like milk, breakfast cereal and yogurts.

• Older people’s bodies have to work harder to produce Vitamin D. Given an equal amount of sun exposure, a 70-year old produces just 25% of the Vitamin D made by a 20 year old.

• People with dark skin or dark complexion require longer exposure to sunlight to make the same amount of Vitamin D as light-skinned people.

• Obesity may make it more difficult for a body to produce Vitamin D

• Irish authorities recommend babies should get a Vitamin D3 supplement every day up to the age of 12 months.

• While regular multivitamins do sometimes contain some Vitamin D, typically the amounts are not very large and would not be sufficient to correct a deficiency in Vitamin D. There are a range of Vitamin D supplements available over the counter and some on prescription.

“It seems that every day we see new evidence around the benefits of supplements, and indeed the potential risks of not getting enough Vitamin D. So while the debate over its role in protecting against Covid-19 continues, everyone should consider taking a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of Vitamin D anyway.

“Pharmacists can identify a suitable supplement, depending on a customer’s age, general health and any other medications they may be taking. There are a number of health conditions which rule out the use of a Vitamin D supplement - which is another good reason to have a chat with your local community Pharmacist and their team,” Cormac concluded.


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