Vitamin D in our food could save lives

Because the likes of us can't be trusted to eat properly or go outside in the sunshine, poor old science is once again having to pick up the pieces and fix our frail, pale bodies. 

The latest plan that could magically stop us all dying earlier than our plague-ridden, bow-legged ancestors, or at least stop us getting so many colds? Forced vitamin D supplements. To make sure we actually swallow them, the team behind the latest research into the vitamin's benefits is recommending it's added to the food we eat. 

A lack of vitamin D is linked with, or accused of being behind, a whole trolley full of illnesses, covering everything from colds and flu to being suspected of playing a part in the onset of Type 1 diabetes.  That considered, sneaking a thin layer of it between the body of the Hob Nob and its chocolate coating can only be a good thing for the health of the nation.

Subsisting on sunshine

So says a team of researchers, who think that compulsory vitamin D courses in our food troughs could lead to 3.25 million fewer cases of cold and flu each winter. It could even cut down on pneumonia and therefore result in fewer trips to the GP and hospital. So all of a sudden we'd become one of the healthy, productive countries you see on the news. 

This is no random guesswork based on what cereal manufacturers say on their boxes, either. The team at University of London compiled data from 25 clinical trials that included around 11,000 people to form its conclusions, which it says make a strong case for fortifying our food with the vitamin. 

Lead report author Adrian Martineau said: “By demonstrating this new benefit of vitamin D, our study strengthens the case for introducing food fortification to improve vitamin D levels in countries such as the UK where profound vitamin D deficiency is common.” 

Daily or weekly does for those with already low levels of vit D do the most good, says Martineau, although the Department for Health says diet and sunshine should generate enough of the vitamin for most people, so it's keeping the evidence for fortification under review and not recommending it as a crisp flavoring just yet.