Asia

Two months' worth of vitamin D supplements available for free to vulnerable Singapore residents

SINGAPORE – A two-month supply of vitamin D supplements will be available free of charge to low-income households over the next two weeks as part of an initiative by the Temasek Foundation.

The philanthropic arm of Temasek Holdings will provide over 100,000 bottles of D3 tablets to vulnerable groups, including seniors and expectant mothers, from next Monday (March 15) to March 28.

D3 – also known as “sunshine vitamin” for manifesting in skin when exposed to sunlight – strengthens bones and helps support the immune system and muscle function, Temasek Foundation said on Friday.

Studies suggest that many Singaporeans are deficient in vitamin D3 despite all-year sunshine here, a problem that may have worsened as more people stayed indoors due to the pandemic, it added.

Singapore residents with blue or orange Community Health Assist Scheme cards or public assistance recipients can get a bottle of vitamin D3 tablets at participating Guardian, Unity or Watsons pharmacies.

The supplements were developed by the nutrition and health arm of German multinational BASF.

Each bottle has 100 tablets, which should last an adult for two months.

KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH) will provide the tablets to about 5,000 expectant mothers receiving antenatal care.

“We see a high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in pregnant women globally and in Singapore,” said Professor Jerry Chan, senior consultant at the Department of Reproductive Medicine at KKH.

“It is important for pregnant women to get an adequate amount of vitamin D, as it is proven to reduce the risk of complications in pregnancies such as pre-term birth and low birth weight in infants.”

Charity Sata CommHealth will also hand out the tablets to about 1,500 vulnerable seniors.

The programme is the latest Stay Prepared Covid-19 initiative by Temasek Foundation, which aims to help people during the pandemic.

A public education campaign entitled #StrongerWithSunshine will also raise awareness on the importance of getting enough vitamin D.

Temasek Foundation Cares chief executive Woon Saet Nyoon said: “The benefits of vitamin D have been in the shadows for a while… With just some outdoor exercise every day and diet choices you can improve your immunity and better protect yourself.”

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