Vitamin D and Covid

Tips on Looking after Yourself During a global Covid-19 pandemic

Readers might be interested in a scientific paper which provides evidence and recommendations for supplementation of vitamin D.

The paper, published late last year by The Royal Society Open Science, presents an argument for vitamin D supplementation for ALL people in the United Kingdom to reduce sickness and death from COVID-19 infection.  This recommendation is based on evidence of an association between vitamin D deficiency and increased severity of COVID-19.

Given that vitamin D supplements are generally well-tolerated and relatively inexpensive, this decision seems straightforward in a country such as the UK that has experienced widespread community transmission of COVID-19 and prolonged lockdowns.  However, some may argue that in a country such as New Zealand, where COVID-19 is not rampant, that a blanket recommendation is not appropriate.  Nevertheless, it would seem prudent to ensure going into winter this year that people who are likely to have low vitamin D levels receive supplementation.

These groups of people include:

  • older people who are frail, housebound or living in residential care,
  • people who work indoors between the hours of 9am and 4pm,
  • people with dark skin pigmentation,
  • people with obesity,
  • people with chronic kidney disease, liver failure or another medical condition that affects vitamin D metabolism.

Further randomised placebo-controlled trials of Vitamin D in the community are unlikely to be completed until later in 2021, although authors note initial positive results from Spain of a trial of vitamin D3 in hospitalised patients.  Supplements are very safe and very cheap and can be obtained either from your GP or your pharmacy.  Prevention is better than cure – there seems to be nothing to lose and potentially much to gain.  #heretohelp