Ten Key Points About Vitamin D Supplementation against COVID-19

16 Dec, 2020

A consortium of nutrition and dietary experts, including Dr Daniel McCartney of TU Dublin and Prof. Rose Anne Kenny of Trinity, has published a statement in the Irish Journal of Medical Science about Vitamin D supplementation and SARS-CoV-2 infection

Ten Key Points about the Importance of Vitamin D Supplementation against Covid-19

  1. There is now strong evidence that vitamin D can reduce the likelihood and severity of Covid-19 infection.
  2. Vitamin D deficiency is common across all age groups in the Irish population:
    • 47% of 18-39-year-olds

    • 60% of 50-59-year-olds

    • 64% of over 80s

    • > 80% of nursing home residents

    • 94% in the BAME communities of Ireland

    • The groups with the highest prevalence of vitamin D deficiency (those with obesity, BAME communities in Ireland, older adults) are the same as the groups with the highest risk from Covid-19.
  3. The blood level of vitamin D required to enhance immunity against Covid-19 is 50nmol/l – this is higher than the level needed to improve bone health.

  4. Skin exposure to sunlight is the major source of vitamin D; however, we do not get sufficient sunshine in Ireland to make enough vitamin D for enhanced immune function, especially during wintertime.

  5. Dietary intakes of vitamin D are also low, meaning that the Irish adult population cannot achieve optimal vitamin D levels for immunity from food and sunshine alone.

  6. Adults in Ireland, therefore, require vitamin D supplements containing 20-25 micrograms per day (800-1000 IU/day) to enhance their immunity against Covid-19.

  7. For obese individuals, older adults and those with darker skin, supplementation at daily doses higher than 20-25 micrograms per day (800-1000 IU/day) will usually be required to meet the required blood levels.

  8. Supplementation with doses up to 100 micrograms per day (4000 IU per day) is safe and does not cause side-effects.

  9. Vitamin D supplements of 20-25 micrograms are cheap, safe, simple to take and widely available over the counter without a prescription.

  10. By developing vitamin D supplementation policy at the required dosage, there is a significant opportunity for Ireland to be one of the first countries in the world to potentially suppress the Covid-19 pandemic through optimisation of its population vitamin D levels (such positive impacts are already evident in Finland where food fortification with vitamin D commenced in 2003).

For further information on the evidence linking vitamin D supplementation and reduced Covid-19 risk, please refer to the Irish Journal of Medical Science (1971 -) here.

Short Video link: https://bongo-eu.youseeu.com/spa/external-player/351604/fb2c3629c67addabb0292db52221c009/styled?lti-scope=d2l-resource-syncmeeting-list

Daniel McCartney (TU Dublin) and Prof. Rose Anne Kenny (Trinity College Dublin) on behalf of the Covit-D Consortium