Vitamin D


Local community groups in Blackburn have launched a new campaign to encourage Vitamin D and Vitamin C intake.

Aisha Seedat says Vitamin D and C is essential for those with darker skin

One Voice Blackburn and IMO Charity are well respected community organisations set up to improve the health inequalities of the local South Asian heritage community.

‘We all need the D, even me’ is a programme that aims to highlight the significance of Vitamin D and create an awareness of Vitamin D deficiency throughout the South Asian heritage community.

The campaign is the brainchild of 22 year-old Aisha Seedat who recognised the importance of Vitamin D and Vitamin C for the bodies of those with darker skin.  The organisations are encouraging local people from the South Asian community to consume Vitamin D at levels of up to 4000iu/100mg* on a daily basis, especially in winter.

The organisations have engaged with representatives from the World Health Organization (WHO) in producing their campaign. According to the WHO, ‘Vitamin D deficiency may affect the immune system’.

Professor Susan Lanhem-New, head of the nutritional sciences department at the University of Surrey told the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF)’s annual lecture in 2019, “There is a real need to promote awareness of Vitamin D deficiency within the UK”. It established that “Vitamin D is beneficial for bone health.”

University of Surrey research has shown extensive Vitamin D deficiency in over 8,000 South Asians living in the UK. People from BAME backgrounds that have a deeper skin tone are less able to absorb sunlight into their skin and therefore less able to produce Vitamin D. The increased melanin (the pigment in skin and hair which imparts your skin tone) in the skin reduces its ability to absorb UV rays from the sunlight which means we do not have the ability to produce much Vitamin D from the sun. The darker the skin tone, the harder it is to produce Vitamin D. As those in BAME communities do not get as much of a Vitamin D boost from sunlight, it is important to be more proactive in obtaining Vitamin D.

The safe level of Vitamin D is generally agreed to be above 10 nanograms per millilitre. One recent study of South Asians living in Manchester found average levels of 5.8 in winter and 9 in summer.

One Voice Blackburn’s flagship health programme Baiter Sehat has worked on other campaigns to improve the health and wellbeing of the South Asian community in Blackburn. Campaigns on dementia awareness, organ donation, mental health and well-being, hepatitis B and C have proved very popular in the recent past.

IMO Charity’s health programmes have included with its cornerstone project Women 4 Women, diabetes education, Youth Connect & Young Minds (young people mental health), chai & chat, carrom & suicide prevention.

The ‘We all need the D and C’ campaign will be launched on social media in late October 2020.

Aisha Seedat is looking forward to the launch of the campaign.

“Although this is a very serious message, we aim to deliver the promotion in a fun and enlightening manner. We want to spread the message far and wide. Vitamin D and C deficiency is an important matter for all of us, no matter the age.

“Lack of Vitamin D in particular may have worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic by people staying indoors and reduced sun exposure. Vitamin D and C products are cheap, natural, and improve our immune system.”

*If you suffer from underlying health conditions please consult your GP before consuming the doses recommended