- The government has taken the initiative to help vulnerable people with a deficiency of vitamin D, as their movements remained restricted due to pandemic
- Since the outbreak of Covid-19, there has been a general rise in health problems unrelated to the coronavirus infection and triggered by people spending more time indoors
- Vitamin D is important for bone and skin health, and a deficiency of this vitamin in the human body can also have long term health effects
The British government has decided to provide free Vitamin D supplements to nearly 2.5 million of the most vulnerable people in the country, especially the old and the dark-skinned people. The health risk to these people has increased this year because of the pandemic when most of the people are being forced to stay inside and are not exposed much to sunlight. Vitamin D is important for human health and is created naturally in our body when sun rays fall on skin. Government will be making deliveries available to clinically extremely vulnerable and care home residents to support their general health. The government has also advised that anyone who is able to purchase a vitamin D supplement should and start taking them, even if they are eligible for free delivery.
There has been a number of other health conditions that have started spiralling out of control in the UK after the advent of the pandemic, which is unrelated to the COVID- 19 infection and are the main reason because of which health system in the country is overwhelmed. Another crucial fact is that people are generally avoiding coming to healthcare facilities unless absolutely necessary because of the fear of getting infected.
The health importance of Vitamin D
One of the primary roles of vitamin D is the control of calcium and phosphorus assimilation and metabolism for bone health. Research during the past two decades has illustrated the importance of vitamin D in reducing the risk of cancer, type 1 diabetes mellitus as well as multiple sclerosis. While solar ultraviolet-B (UVB) irradiation is the primary source of vitamin D for most people. Due to lack of adequate sunlight resulting from lifestyle, season or latitude vitamin D can be obtained from fortified food, oily fish, vitamin D supplements, and artificial sources of UVB radiation.
It becomes extremely important for the elderly to maintain vitamin D sufficiency. Not only are they likely to get less vitamin D from solar UVB irradiation because they generally spend less time in sunlight as compared to younger people, but their efficiency of photoproduction of the compound also goes down with age.
Health outlook for the UK
While the pandemic might come into control after the advent of the vaccine, there are several long term health complications that the country would have to deal with for a long time, which are becoming more prominent by the day. While the government’s action plan to distribute Vitamin D to vulnerable groups could provide them with adequate protection, it will also reduce pressure from NHS through the darker winter months.