• Danni

Coronavirus: Can Vitamin D Help?

With the latest lockdown restrictions and the winter months quickly setting in, going outside is increasingly less attractive. Especially as a parent trying to convince your child against their superior judgement that they ‘do need to wear their coat’. Despite the struggle it is more important than ever to make sure that you are going out to get some fresh air and more importantly getting your vitamin D.

Over the past few weeks there has been an increasing number of news articles on the importance of vitamin D for your health. Health experts recognise the difficulty in getting the full dose of the recommended daily Vitamin D from just sun exposure. Even before the pandemic the NHS recommended taking supplements to boost your vitamin D. The NHS has recently reiterated this guideline due to the greater time we are staying inside.

Vitamin D is so important for the healthy development of our bodies as it helps regulate calcium within our body. This is important for keeping bones, teeth and muscle healthy.

Could Vitamin D help against COIVD?

The National Institute for Health Care Excellence stresses that vitamin D supplements don’t specifically prevent COVID-19. However, preliminary research has shown that there is a correlation between vitamin D deficiency and a higher severity of COVID-19 in patients. That being said the study stresses that greater research need be undertaken to confirm whether vitamin D helps fight against coronavirus.

Broader health benefits of sufficient levels of vitamin D are well-known and cited by experts as an overall support to the body’s health and wellbeing. It is more important to supplement our vitamin D intake especially as we have likely been spending an increasing amount of time inside due to the impact of the pandemic.

What is the recommended daily dose of Vitamin D?

NHS guidelines recommend the following daily doses of Vitamin D:

· Babies up to the age of 1 – 8.5 – 10 micrograms a day

· Children from age of 1 – adults – 10 micrograms a day

The NHS states that ‘the word microgram is sometimes written with the Green symbol µ followed by the letter g (µg).’ (Check out the NHS guidelines for more information )

Why we just aren’t getting enough Vitamin D

The Sun

In order for you to get the full benefit of vitamin D through exposure to the sun you have to be in it for at least 10 minutes, ideally around lunchtime by showing your face, hands, arms etc. However, the sun’s altitude is weak during autumn and winter in the UK reaching just over 20 degrees whereas it’s 40-60 degrees in spring through to summer. As a result, in the winter months the sun just isn’t strong enough to help you get all of the vitamin D levels that you are recommended.

But please don’t panic, a study in 2016 showed that up to 1 in 5 people in the UK have a deficiency in vitamin D and most people don’t even realise. That being said, it is best to evaluate your personal situation to see whether you think you could be doing more to make sure you and your family are consuming a good about of vitamin D.

Food

To increase your vitamin D intake during the gloomy months you can also try boosting your diet with vitamin D rich foods. Oily fish, egg yolks, mushrooms and fortified foods such as breakfast cereals contain larger amounts of vitamin D then most food stuffs. However, their vitamin D content is still not very high and will not amount to the suggested levels.

Supplements

This is why vitamin D supplements are recommended by the NHS. Please refer to the NHS recommended dosage according to age when looking for extra supplement sources of vitamin D. There are a variety of different vitamin D supplements available in supermarkets such as tablets, sprays for children and babies and chewable tablets. Our Healthipops are also a great source of Vitamin D, keep your eye out or sign up to our mailing list to get an update when they're available.

In these trying times it is more important than ever to take care of your body as best as you can and so we would really encourage you to consider the amount of vitamin D you are getting in your current lifestyle and consider whether you should be supplementing your diet with extra vitamin D.