The UK government is said to be finalising a rollout plan for Vitamin D to be distributed among the most vulnerable groups, as emerging science suggests its role as a supplement in cutting the risk of death from COVID-19, according to a UK media report.
Ministers are believed to be drawing up plans for four-month supplies of the vitamin to be delivered directly to the elderly at care home residents in England, and those deemed to be clinically extremely vulnerable to the deadly virus. The move follows a similar move by the Scottish Government, The Sunday Telegraph reports.
“We are indeed looking at the possible beneficial effects of Vitamin D, and… we will be updating the House shortly,” UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson had told the House of Commons, recently, in response to a question about the supplement.
The government is expected to commission clinical trials to further examine the link between COVID-19 and Vitamin D deficiency.
“I have asked the scientists to look once again at the impact of Vitamin D on resistance and immunity. There has been some updated evidence that has come to light in the past few weeks, and I want to ensure that it is fully taken into account,” UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock told MPs last month.
A number of studies have indicated that poor Vitamin D levels are associated with a higher risk of death from the coronavirus. The vitamin helps the body maintain normal levels of calcium and phosphate, keeping bones, teeth and muscles healthy. It is produced naturally by the body when it comes into contact with the sun.
From next month, Vitamin D supplements will be delivered to more than two million clinically extremely vulnerable people along with all care home residents, across England.
The supplies are intended to last throughout the winter months, when the National Health Service (NHS) already recommends that people should consider taking the vitamin.
“We are going to make sure those most in need of Vitamin D can access a free supply over the winter months. Some studies suggest Vitamin D supplementation could have a positive impact for people suffering with COVID-19,” the newspaper quoted a senior government source as saying.
Following the first lockdown in the UK, Public Health Englands chief nutritionist, Dr Alison Tedstone, recommended that everyone take the “sunshine supplement” due to spending so much time in doors.