Vitamin D is created by the body in response to direct sunlight on the skin, and it is thought that people may not be producing enough of it because of isolation measures.
Health experts have now advised people to take 10 micrograms of the vitamin a day to ensure healthy bones and muscles.
“This is because you may not be getting enough vitamin D from sunlight if you’re indoors most of the day,” Public Health England said.
Vitamin D helps the body to absorb calcium and phosphate, which keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy.
Graham Keen, executive director of the Health Food Manufacturers' Association, said: “Whilst vitamin D supplementation has long been recommended for key population groups, this broadened advice is welcome to help everyone maintain healthy joints and muscles.”
Authorities say there is no evidence that vitamin D reduces the risk of contracting the coronavirus, or becoming ill as a result, as some reports have recently claimed.
Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at Public Health England, said “there is no sufficient evidence to support recommending vitamin D for reducing the risk of Covid-19”.
Apart from sunlight, other sources of the vitamin include egg yolks, red meat and oily fish.
It is also sometimes added to breakfast cereals and spreads, and can be taken as a supplement.
Most people usually receive the necessary amount of vitamin D from sunlight between late March and the end of September.
However, vitamin D supplements are advised during the autumn and winter to make up for the reduced levels of sunlight.
Additional reporting by PA
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