This site is intended for health professionals only

Vitamin D deficiency guidance published

Guidance on vitamin D deficiency prevention has been issued by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

Vitamin D: increasing supplement use among at-risk groups highlights the vitamin D deficiencies that may occur in pregnant women, children under five and those who have little exposure to the sun.

Vitamin D is essential for skeletal growth and bone health. Severe deficiency can result in rickets and osteomalacia.

However, with dietary sources of vitamin D being limited, and nearly 20% of adults having vitamin D deficiency, it is often important to rely upon supplements.

NICE states that The Department of Health should “work with manufacturers to ensure vitamin D supplements providing the reference nutrient intake(RNI) as recommended by the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition, are widely available for at risk groups and those with particular dietary needs.”

They also advised that the Public Health England should help increase awareness of the importance of vitamin D and where patients can access it for free or as cheaply as possible.

Janet Fyle, professional policy advisor at the Royal College of Midwives, welcomed the guidance.

“The chief medical and nursing officers in the four UK countries reinforce the message to practitioners such as midwives to ensure that at risk groups - children, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers take vitamin D supplementation and we support this.”