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Vitamin D

Updated: Nov 26, 2020


VITAMIN D - CALCIFEROL


PROPERTIES :

Vitamin D is involved in calcium absorption and has a role protecting bone, muscle, and heart health.It is also an immune regulator and enhances our bodies defence mechanisms against respiratory pathogens. As a supplement it inexpensive and safe.


MAINTENANCE:

From late March/early April to the end of September, most people should be able to get all the vitamin D they need from sunlight. The body creates vitamin D from direct sunlight on the skin when outdoors. You need to have your bare arms and face for 15 minutes a few times a week to keep your levels optimal.


Between October and early March we need to make sure our diet is rich in oily fish (salmon, sardines, mackerel) red meat, liver and egg yolks, milk, yoghurt, margarines, fortified bread and cereals. Another source is dietary supplements. For a guide to your maintenance dose I will refer you to www.nhs.uk as it depends on many factors: age sex ethnicity pregnancy breast feeding breast fed/ bottle fed frailty housebound.

Please note vitamin D levels ESPECIALLY decrease in the over 70’s, obesity, people of colour, those bed bound and institutionalised

COVID PROPHYLAXIS/ACUTE COVID INFECTION:

People with sufficient vitamin D levels have a 54% reduced risk of GETTING infected with Covid-19. Research suggests that Covid-19 infected patients should supplement with 1000-2000 IU a day.


It is recommended that we do not take more than 100 micrograms (4,000 IU) of vitamin D a day as it could be harmful: too much Vitamin D can lead to high levels of calcium (hypercalcaemia) which can weaken the bones and damage the kidneys and the heart.


Max daily dose: adults, including pregnant and breastfeeding women, the elderly, and children(11 to 17 years) 4000 IU

Children aged 1 to 10 years 2000 IU

Infants 1000 IU


RESEARCH IN COVID-19:

Covid-19 patients hospitalised with sufficient levels of Vitamin D show significant reductions in severe outcomes and a lower risk of death. Vitamin D is known to regulate immunity in ways that may reduce viral load in patients exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 and therefore ease the severity and consequences to cytokine storm.


Research shows that those with a deficiency had higher inflammatory markers and lower lymphocyte (white blood cells that fight viral infections) levels.


FUTURE RESEARCH NEEDED:

Perhaps the best hope for showing the clinical benefit of Vitamin D lies in a population-based trial investigating prophylactic vitamin D supplementation as a means of lessening the severity of an infection with COVID-19, to the extent that it is either asymptomatic or does not result in hospitalisation.


Pending results of such trials it would seem sensible to promote efforts to achieve reference nutrient intakes of vitamin D, which range from 400 IU/day in the UK to 600–800 IU/day in the USA. Other groups recommend 800 - 1000 IU/day especially those in the at risk groups.


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