Reports that Vitamin D could reduce the most harmful effects of Covid have resulted in an increased demand for the supplement at pharmacies and health food stores in Ireland, says Deputy Michael Lowry.
An Oireachtas committee reported on Wednesday last that daily Vitamin D supplementation of 20-25microgrammes should be recommended to the entire adult population as a Public Health measure, including to potentially reduce the impact of Covid-19.
It said higher doses should be recommended for vulnerable groups under medical supervision.
Vitamin D is normally produced in a person when their skin is exposed to the sun, earning it the name as the ‘sunshine vitamin’. But with Irish winters being so dark we have long been advised to supplement our intake with over-the-counter supplies.
As Ireland emerges from the third wave of Covid-19, there is an opportunity to develop a new Public Health policy that encourages the uptake of Vitamin D supplementation.
The promotion of Vitamin D supplementation is a safe, cheap and complementary solution that can be quickly and easily implemented.
To further reduce the cost of Vitamin D supplements and to promote its uptake, the Government is being encouraged to reconsider the current VAT applied, with a view to either reducing or eliminating it.
There is a need for a public health policy to address Vitamin D deficiency, to actively promote supplements across the population, to target specific vulnerable groups and to implement the public health recommendations to support the policy’ says Deputy Lowry.
Such a policy should outline the scope available to public health authorities to take control of the dissemination of Vitamin D and to increase public knowledge in order to encourage the uptake of supplements.
‘This new policy should be developed in time for consideration as part of Budget 2022 which will be presented to the Dáil in October 2021. In this way, funding of new measures will be in place from January 2022’ Lowry concluded.