Vitamin D is a nutrient which your body uses to keep your bones and muscles healthy1 – so can increasing my vitamin D intake stop me from contracting coronavirus (COVID-19)?
While there’s a lot of conversation around Vitamin D and COVID-19 survival rates, there is no strong scientific evidence to prove the relationship.2
Why do we need vitamin D?
Vitamin D helps to control calcium levels in the blood, helps develop strong bones and muscles, and contributes to overall health.3
People who are deficient in Vitamin D may face serious health implications such as rickets (in children) and osteomalacia (in adults).4
What does the research say about vitamin D and COVID-19?
One study found that some severe cases of COVID-19 were deficient in vitamin D5, while a second study found some people with COVID-19 had lower levels of vitamin D in the body compared to those without COVID-19.6
A third study found higher vitamin D levels in the body was sometimes associated with a lower level of infection and hospitalisation from COVID-19.7
Although vitamin D has many widely accepted benefits for the human body, it is not proven that vitamin D can stop you from getting COVID-19.
How much vitamin D should I take?
Assuming you have had no or minimal sun exposure, the recommended intake of vitamin D is as follows:
- 5 micrograms for children, adolescents and adults aged 19-50 years
- 10 micrograms for adults aged 51-70 years
- 15 micrograms for adults aged 70+ years8
In Australia, 23% of people are estimated to have a vitamin D deficiency, with order adults at higher risk.9
Most Australians get adequate levels of vitamin D through sunlight alone. Increasing physical activity and spending more time outdoors is a great way to ensure you are getting enough vitamin D.
During the summer months in Australia, you can achieve your recommended intake in just a few minutes in the sun. When outside in Australia you should always ensure you are aware of the UV index and are following sun safe guidelines as too much sun exposure can increase your risk of skin cancer.10
For more information about sun safety in Australia and Vitamin D, you can visit Cancer Council Australia.
Can I get Vitamin D through diet?
Vitamin D is found in oily fish, such as salmon; herring; sardines and mackerel, alongside red meat, egg yolks and liver.11 Most people only get 5% – 10% of their vitamin D intake through food alone.12
If you struggle to consume enough vitamin D from food or sunlight, you may consider taking a supplement.
ALWAYS READ THE LABEL. FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS FOR USE. IF SYMPTOMS PERSIST, TALK TO YOUR HEALTH PROFESSIONAL. ADULTS ONLY. VITAMIN AND MINERAL SUPPLEMENTS SHOULD NOT REPLACE A BALANCED DIE