Vitamin D: Bread

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 12th February 2021.

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Photo of Luke Pollard Luke Pollard Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what representations he has received on fortifying bread in England with Vitamin D to help tackle the covid-19 outbreak.

Photo of Jo Churchill Jo Churchill The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

A rapid evidence review was published in June 2020, concluding that there is currently no evidence to support the use of vitamin D supplements to reduce the risk or severity of COVID-19. This review was followed by a second review in December 2020 which concluded that the evidence does not support vitamin D supplementation to prevent acute respiratory tract infections.

Following these reviews there is currently no evidence to suggest that supplementing vitamin D through fortified bread would reduce the risk or severity of COVID-19. However, companies are free to fortify certain products with vitamin D and already do so for several foods including many fats and spread, breakfast cereals, and some powdered milk.

Public Health England (PHE) have re-issued advice on vitamin D supplementation, advising that people who do not go outdoors often should consider taking a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D to prevent deficiency. The Government has also announced that over two and a half million vulnerable people across England will be offered free vitamin D supplements for the winter. However, this advice is not about reducing the risk of COVID-19 or mitigating its effects; vitamin D is needed to keep bones and muscles healthy.

PHE is monitoring any new, high quality evidence on nutrition and COVID-19 and is seeking further advice from the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition as appropriate.

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