Adults aged 65 and over should take daily Vitamin D

By June Shannon Nutrition News   |   1st Dec 2020

The Irish Heart Foundation has welcomed new guidance from the Department of Health that all adults aged 65 and over should take a daily vitamin D supplement to ensure they get the essential vitamin D needed for bone and muscle health.

The new recommendation from the Department of Health is that all adults aged 65 and over should take a vitamin D supplement of 15 micrograms (15μg) every day.

This vitamin D supplement can be taken in three ways: as part of a multi-vitamin supplement that contains 15 microgram (15μg) of vitamin D; or as a calcium and vitamin D supplement that contains 15 microgram (15μg) of vitamin D, or as a vitamin D only supplement that contains 15 microgram (15μg) of vitamin D.

People who are currently taking a vitamin D supplement prescribed by a doctor or a nurse that contains more than 15 microgram (15μg) can continue to take the supplement prescribed.

"This new guidance on vitamin D supplementation will help support older adults across Ireland to live healthy lives,”

Sarah Noone, Dietitian , The Irish Heart Foundation

This new advice is based on research from the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI).  Earlier this year, the Department of Health asked the FSAI Scientific Committee to examine the vitamin D status of the older population in Ireland and provide scientific recommendations on vitamin D supplementation. The FSAI report found that older people in Ireland do not get sufficient vitamin D from their diet or from sunlight.

Welcoming the advice Sarah Noone, expert dietitian with the Irish Heart Foundation said, “It is common in Ireland for people to be Vitmain D deficient. Each year in Ireland, one-in-eight older adults are deficient in vitamin D and the number of older adults deficient in vitamin D almost doubles in winter. This is expected to be higher this year given Covid -19 restrictions which have limited movements for the whole population and required older and high-risk adults to cocoon in their homes. This new guidance on vitamin D supplementation will help support older adults across Ireland to live healthy lives.”

The FSAI report also reviewed the available evidence in relation to vitamin D supplements being taken to prevent or treat COVID-19. The FSAI Report acknowledged that there is limited research available and have concluded that there is no evidence to support taking vitamin D supplements to specifically prevent or treat COVID-19.

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