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Vitamin D during isolation

Vitamin D supplement advice during isolation (last updated 2 April 2020)

The Government is currently advising people to stay at home and for most people this will mean being indoors for much of the day and not getting enough vitamin D from sunshine exposure. 

Since it's difficult for people to get enough vitamin D from food alone, everyone (including children and pregnant and breastfeeding women) should consider taking a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D.

This advice is especially important for people who are indoors all of the time.

The current guidance on sun exposure should be followed: 10–15 minutes of unprotected Scottish sun exposure is safe for all. Once sunscreen is correctly applied, vitamin D synthesis is blocked. Staying in the sun for prolonged periods without the protection of sunscreen increases the risk of skin cancer.

Babies and young children

  • breastfed babies from birth to 1 year of age should be given a daily supplement containing 8.5 to 10 micrograms of vitamin D to make sure they get enough
  • formula-fed babies shouldn't be given a vitamin D supplement until they're having less than 500ml (about a pint) of infant formula a day, as infant formula is fortified with vitamin D
  • children aged 1 to 4 years old should be given a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D.

You can buy vitamin D supplements or vitamin drops containing vitamin D (for under 5s) at most pharmacies and supermarkets. Please don’t buy more than you need.

Pregnant Women

Healthy Start vitamins, which contain Vitamin D, are available free to all pregnant women in Scotland. Ask your midwife or health visitor for further information.

Women and children who qualify for the Best Start Foods scheme in Scotland can get free supplements containing the recommended amounts of vitamin D. Please contact your health visitor for more information.

 

Too much vitamin D may be harmful. Unless your doctor has advised you differently, daily supplements at the recommended amounts will be enough for requirements.  In particular, avoid daily high dose vitamin D supplement containing more than 100 micrograms for adults and children from age 11, more than 50 micrograms for children age 1-10 years, and more than 25 micrograms for infants under 12 months.

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