Vitamin D, Immunity and COVID 19

The increase of nutritional science over the past decade has been growing rapidly and due to the current climate, science around nutrition is progressing at an even faster rate. The power of good nutrition for general health, mental health and disease prevention is undeniable.  As we get used to our new normal of living with COVID 19 along with the uncertainty it brings, our nutrition is something that we can take control of.

The news has been full of research regarding vitamin D with the former Director of the ‘Centres for Disease Control and Prevention’ Tom Frieden, stating that coronavirus infection risk may be reduced by vitamin D. The rationale being that the immune system is weakened due to a lack of vitamin D contributing to poorer outcomes in managing the symptoms of the virus.

A recent study out of Ireland drew comparisons to vitamin D deficiency and the effect of COVID 19 outcomes. Vitamin D can support the immune system through a number of immune pathways involved in fighting SARS2COV, and many other recent studies confirm the pivotal role of vitamin D in viral infections.

A key message is that Vitamin D reduces the risk of respiratory infection, regulates cytokine production and can limit the risk of viruses. Also, about 40% of us are deficient in Vitamin D (particularly following winter). Humans need around 35% exposure level to properly absorb vitamin D and many people will need supplementation as there is currently not enough strong sunshine in the UK.  We are all unique in our ability to make, transport and absorb Vitamin D, and this even comes down to our genetic make-up in some cases.

The best dietary sources are fish, egg yolks, dairy and fortified foods such as some milk or yogurt. Like humans, mushrooms can make their own vitamin D if left in the sun (look out for the vitamin D labelled mushrooms). However, unlike other nutrients, we need it from other sources aside from our diet so we can’t just eat loads of fish and eggs to solve the deficiency.

Statistics show that most people are deficient without even knowing. The correct amount of vitamin D is within the of range of 100-110nmol/L. However, the amount each individual requires differs due to sunlight exposure, geography, skin colour, genetics, diet, lifestyle and underlying health issues. The good news is that we can test levels very easily and adjust intake through supplements as well as diet.

You can order your test through Amy Young Nutrition very easily for £45. It is a simple finger prick test with a turnaround time of about 10 working days. Please email me for details.