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Cheaper vitamin D would boost health

14th December 2012

Cases of rickets are on the increase in the UK because up to a quarter of children in this country are deficient in vitamin D.

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Experts have called for action to tackle the problem, suggesting more access to cheap vitamin D supplements would improve the health of groups at particular risk.

In addition, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) said another option to increase vitamin D levels would be to fortify a wider range of foods.

It wants a campaign to raise public awareness of the warning signs of vitamin D deficiency and how to prevent it and to see more money pumped into research into the link between vitamin D deficiency and bone disease.

The RCPCH is also producing leaflets to raise awareness amongst health professionals with latest figures showing the number of cases of rickets has increased from 183 in 1996 to 762 in 2011.

Professor Mitch Blair said: “Vitamin D can be found in some foods such as oily fish, eggs and mushrooms - but only 10% of a person’s recommended daily amount is found naturally in food.

“Put bluntly, eating more fish and getting out in the sun a bit more won’t make much of a difference to your vitamin D levels.”

Lack of vitamin D can lead to higher incidence of diabetes, tuberculosis and multiple sclerosis as well as rickets.

In January this year, the government recommended pregnant and breastfeeding women, children aged six months to five and those aged over 65 should take vitamin D supplements.

 

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