Now we are in May most people would normally be thinking about stopping their Vitamin D supplements as per NHS guidelines. However, there is mounting evidence that during the Coronavirus lockdown – when we are indoors more than usual, and the good sunny weather is not guaranteed – that we should continue taking it over the summer months too.
Research has recently been published, showing that Vitamin D supplements can reduce the severity of both flu and coronavirus. This US study recommends that adults at highest risk for flu and COVID-19 should consider taking 10,000 IU of vitamin D3 daily for a few weeks to rapidly raise blood levels, followed by 5000iu per day to keep vitamin D stores nice and healthy.
Normally it is thought that a blood level of over 50 nmol/L Vitamin D is enough (this is what your GP would advise) but this study is recommending a much higher baseline of 100-150 nmol/L for optimal immunity and for keeping inflammation in check, which is their justification for taking more Vitamin D and for longer.
It is also now known that Vitamin D helps to improve the diversity of the gut microbiome, which is important for regulating immunity, inflammation and also recuperation from illness.
If you have been taking vitamin D regularly over the winter and enjoyed some of the recent sunny days, then you may not need this stronger dose. But if you know you tend towards low vitamin D levels, then you may want to consider taking a little more and for a little longer. Please never take more than these recommendations, as Vitamin D toxicity can happen – you do not want to go over 200 nmol/L blood levels.
If a marked deficiency is found, then this is the level of treatment that Nottingham University Hospitals advises for 6-8 weeks only – but obviously you would need to discuss these with a professional and have your vitamin D levels checked. We at NatureDoc can organise affordable finger prick Vitamin D blood tests for our clinic clients.
- Age <1 month – 12 months – initial treatment 1,500 IU daily (Formula-fed babies should not be given a vitamin D supplement until they’re having less than 500ml of infant milk formula daily, as infant formula is fortified with vitamin D)
- Age 1-6 months – initial treatment 3,000 IU daily
- Age 6 months – 12 years – initial treatment 6,000IU daily
- Age >12 years and adults – initial treatment 10,000 IU daily
Source: Nottingham NHS
If you sit in the hot sun in minimal clothing for 20 minutes during the summer, then you will get about a boost of the equivalent of a 10,000iu dose of Vitamin D. And you can’t even have a overdose of vitamin D from the sun. Roll on some more sunshine!
- Evidence That Vitamin D Supplementation Could Reduce Risk of Influenza and COVID-19 Infections and Deaths
- The role of Vitamin D in the prevention of Coronavirus Disease 2019 infection and mortality
- Vitamin D Receptor Promotes Healthy Microbial Metabolites and Microbiome
- Vitamin D advice for everyone: coronavirus