Summary: The value and benefit of vitamin D has not always been a hot topic in the general media. However, during this year with the focus on COVID-19, supporting our immune systems and minimising our risks, there has been much interest. It is reported that vitamin D sufficiency increases resistance to viral infections and helps prevent every symptom of severe COVID-19 that results in fatalities. Showing that vitamin D deficiency can also explain every major risk factor. A focus on the regular consumption of vitamin D rich foods has general agreement across public bodies and health professionals, with supplementation seeming to be “uncontroversial” with the promotion of regular intake of the vitamin. Doses in the range of 6 000IU to 8 000IU are suggested, plus the addition of regular blood testing being important to achieve maximum benefits.
A simple search of Google News shows there is almost daily posts discussing ways to ensure we have adequate vitamin D status or reports indicating potential deficiencies in vitamin D and severity of COVID-19 symptoms or new studies / clinical trials designed to shed light of this relationship. Recent news reports of interest have included:
- Possible association of vitamin D status with lung involvement and outcome in patients with COVID-19: a retrospective study. “Serum vitamin D status might provide useful information regarding the clinical course, extent of lung involvement and outcome of patients with COVID-19.” 1
- Vitamin-D Deficiency May Lead To COVID-19. “Correcting deficiencies with supplements is necessary. Vitamin D3 supplements are available in various dosage forms and dose regimens.” 2
- More Vitamin D in first year may cut later obesity risk. “Higher vitamin D levels in first year of life could protect against obesity in adolescence, researchers report.” 3
- Study: Vitamin D Deficiency Common in COVID-19 Patients. “Vitamin D treatment should be recommended in COVID-19 patients with low levels of vitamin D circulating in the blood since this approach might have beneficial effects in both the musculoskeletal and the immune system”.4
- What to Eat to Boost Your Vitamin D Intake During Winter. “It is believed that 60-90% of the population are vitamin D deficient in winter, so pretty much anyone could think about how best to get more of this crucial nutrient.” 5
- Vitamin D-Rich Diet During Pregnancy May Prevent High BP In Kids. “Children of mothers with high BP during pregnancy are at a great risk.” 6
- New Study Shows That Vitamins A, E and D Can Reduce Respiratory Infections. “Taken together, Vitamins A, E, and D could strengthen our immune defences, especially our respiratory system.” 7
Optimising vitamin D status
For those of us that understand the benefits and need of ensuring we have optimal vitamin D status, information continues to be shared to help us inform our food choices and supplemental needs. Regarding foods high in vitamin D, we have briefly discussed this elsewhere and must continue to guarantee we regularly consume fattier fish options (salmon, tuna, and mackerel), liver, cheese, mushrooms and egg yolks.8
In respect to recommended supplementation strategies for vitamin D, current research is challenging government recommendations in light of potential benefits versus “nothing to lose,” and much to gain, by taking vitamin D supplements as protection during the Covid-19 pandemic.9 Recent reports include:
- Vitamin D: Testing and supplementation in adults. MacRae and colleagues (September 2020) report that: “All people living in the UK aged 1 year and above should be encouraged to take a daily supplement of 10 mg (400 IU) of vitamin D all year, and 8.5–10 mg (340–400 IU) daily in babies aged up to 1 year (Chief Medical Officer, (CMO), 2017; NICE, 2018).10
- Martineau and Forouhi (August 2020) state in The Lancet that, “it would seem uncontroversial to enthusiastically promote efforts to achieve reference nutrient intakes of vitamin D, which range from 400 IU/day in the UK. These are predicated on benefits of vitamin D for bone and muscle health, but there is a chance that their implementation might also reduce the impact of COVID-19 in populations where vitamin D deficiency is prevalent; there is nothing to lose from their implementation, and potentially much to gain.11
- Downing in the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service (OMNS Oct 6, 2020) has indicated that, “epidemiological data shows that a vitamin D3 blood level of at least 75 nmol/L (30 ng/ml) is needed for protection against COVID-19. Furthermore, an adult will need to take 4 000 IU/day of vitamin D3 for 3 months to reliably achieve a 75 nmol/L level”.12
“Widely recommending 2,000 IU of vitamin D daily for all populations with limited ability to manufacture vitamin D from the sun has virtually no potential for harm and is reasonably likely to save many lives.” 12
- A Basic Review of the Preliminary Evidence That COVID-19 Risk and Severity Is Increased in Vitamin D Deficiency. Benskin (September 2020) comprehensive review found that “despite almost complete absence of official government guidelines favouring vitamin D supplements to potentially decrease COVID-19 risk and severity, support among clinicians and other researchers for correcting and preventing vitamin D deficiency with modest daily vitamin D supplementation during the COVID-19 pandemic is very strong, worldwide.”
“The evidence supports recommending 2 000IU (50mcg) vitamin D daily for at-risk teens and adults, which is well within safe limits and might dramatically reduce COVID-19 fatalities.” 13
Bigvits have sourced a range of quality products from premium manufacturers including Healthy Origins, AtoZ Pure Health and Jarrow Formulas. Each designed to help us support our Vitamin D status and strive for optimal health and wellbeing.
If you have a specific interest or would like to see a particular product or nutrient reviewed, please email your request to firstname.lastname@example.org. Educating our customers in respect to the importance of nutrients and the idiosyncrasies between formulas and products is at the heart of what we want to achieve.
This post is meant for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical or nutritional advice or act as a substitute for seeking such advice from a qualified health professional. In order to make the blog series easier to read, I have used a conversational tone in many places with personal pronouns, such as “I” and “you.” This is meant only to make it more pleasant to read, and is not meant to imply that the information constitutes any form of advice, whether personal or general.