Vitamin D levels in Britons ‘increased by almost a third last summer’

Vitamin D levels among people in Britain rose by almost one third last summer, according to a healthcare testing company.

Medichecks compared data from 19,842 tests between March 2019 and February 2020, and 20,645 tests between March 2020 and February this year.

It found levels of vitamin D increased by 28% year-on-year in June and by around 31% in September.

The rise could be due to the Covid-19 pandemic leading to millions of workers being furloughed, or working from home, according to the company.

Dr Sam Rodgers, chief medical officer at Medichecks, said: “The data is robust and shows a clear increase to vitamin D in the summer of 2020, common across males and females.

“The conclusions we can draw from this are that the shift to work from home, meaning less commuting, and furlough offered more opportunity to spend time outdoors in the sunshine than was possible in 2019.

“We should also factor in the possibility that a greater number of people were heeding NHS guidance and choosing to supplement vitamin D.

“Both of these are positive developments because maintaining good vitamin D levels is important for keeping bones, teeth and muscles healthy.”

Spring weather Apr 18th 2021
People talking in St Nicholas’ Park, Warwick (Jacob King/PA)

The data showed the biggest increases in vitamin D levels were among residents of the East Midlands and North East, with both regions returning a year-on-year increase of 21%.

Those in the over-60s age-group showed an average increase of 24%.

Dr Rogers added: “It’s interesting to recall that last summer there was a volume of conflicting medical advice on the benefits of vitamin D in warding off Covid-19, and this may have encouraged some to take a daily supplement.

“The role, if any, of vitamin D deficiency in more serious Covid infection is still under scrutiny.

“What we do know is that as an overall indicator of health, it’s a positive finding that the pandemic may have inadvertently increased vitamin D in the UK population.”