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)?
Experimental studies suggest there may be a link between patients taking regular vitamin D supplements and COVID-19 survival rates, but this has yet to be accepted at large by the scientific community.
Why do we need vitamin D?
Vitamin D contributes to the normal absorption of calcium and phosphorus in the body, which helps keep our bones, teeth and muscles working as they should.2
What does the research say about vitamin D and COVID-19?
One study found that those with severe cases of COVID-19 were more likely to be deficient in vitamin D5, while a second study found people with COVID-19 had lower levels of vitamin D in the body compared to those without coronavirus.6
A third study found higher vitamin D levels in the body were 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 coronavirus.
How much vitamin D should I take?
Children over the age of one year are recommended to consume 10 micrograms (400IU) of vitamin D a day.8 In the summer months, many absorb their daily vitamin D from the sun.
However, due to worldwide ‘stay at home’ restrictions, you may not be receiving enough vitamin D from sunlight and may need a supplement to help you reach the recommended daily intake.
If you have a darker skin tone, you should make sure to top up your vitamin D intake from either food or supplements, as the skin pigment melanin also reduces the skin’s ability to absorb vitamin D from the sun.
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.
Some foods, including yogurts, alternative milk, and breakfast cereals, may also be fortified with vitamin D.
If you struggle to consume enough vitamin D from food or sunlight, you may consider taking a supplement.
Supplements should not replace a balanced diet and an active lifestyle.