Written by: Kofi Dwinfour

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The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has issued guidance that aims to increase supplement use to prevent vitamin D deficiency among at-risk groups including:

  • infants and children aged under 5
  • pregnant and breastfeeding women, particularly teenagers and young women
  • people over 65
  • people who have low or no exposure to the sun, for example, those who cover their skin for cultural reasons, who are housebound or confined indoors for long periods
  • people with darker skin, for example, people of African, African-Caribbean or South Asian family origin.

Dietary sources of vitamin D are limited. The main natural source is from the action of sunlight on skin. However, from mid-October to the beginning of April in the UK there is no ambient ultraviolet sunlight of the appropriate wavelength for skin synthesis of vitamin D.

I have asked NICE if they consider skin disease patients to be among the at risk groups. As an example, I cited those with skin conditions such as vitiligo, scleroderma, psoriasis, actinic keratosis, and lupus vulgaris. I am waiting for their reply.


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