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Vitamin D deficiency

03/02/2012

Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer today reiterated advice for people to guard against the risk of vitamin D deficiency.

Sir Harry Burns and Chief Medical Officers from across the UK have sent a joint letter to health professionals, reminding them of the importance of making people at risk of deficiency aware of the importance of getting enough vitamin D and how they can access daily supplements where necessary.

The letter sets out a reminder of existing recommendations:

  • All pregnant and breastfeeding women should take a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D, to ensure the mother’s requirements for vitamin D are met and to build adequate fetal stores for early infancy
  • All infants and young children aged six months to five years should take a daily supplement containing vitamin D in the form of vitamin drops, to help them meet the requirement set for this age group of 7-8.5 micrograms of vitamin D per day. However, those infants who are fed infant formula will not need vitamin drops until they are receiving less than 500ml of infant formula a day, as these products are fortified with vitamin D. Breastfed infants may need to receive drops containing vitamin D from one month of age if their mother has not taken vitamin D supplements throughout pregnancy
  • People aged 65 years and over and people who are not exposed to much sun should also take a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D.

Sir Harry said:

"My colleagues and I are writing a joint letter to health professionals to increase awareness of this important issue, highlighting the fact there are steps that people who may be at risk of vitamin D deficiency, such as pregnant women, infants and young children, can take to avoid low levels.

"This is a restatement of advice I sent to health professionals in Scotland last year and contains important information about prescribing and recommending vitamin D supplements to those groups of the population at risk of vitamin D deficiency.

"Health professionals can make can make a significant difference to people’s health by making those at risk aware of how important it is to make sure they get enough vitamin D, and how they can get access to these important daily supplements."

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