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How Much Vitamin D Should I take During Covid-19?

Have you wondered how much Vitamin D you should take during Covid-19?

Guest Article by Dr Ngozi Onuoha

An open box of tabllets labelled 'Vitamin D' - how much vitamin D should you have?
How much Vitamin D should you have?

Background

It is now three months since the World Health Organization declared a global Coronavirus pandemic. 

And now - what do we know so far? 

Certainly, we understand that this is a highly virulent and destructive virus with mortality rates as high as 3.6%.


Does How Much Vitamin We Take Matter?

Some scientists think that low vitamin D levels lead to low immunity that makes a person more susceptible to COVID-19, the multisystemic disease caused by the Coronavirus. 

Watch this video to learn more about Immunity and Vitamin D.

Certainly, we know that Vitamin D does not prevent COVID-19. 

But we think that healthy Vitamin D levels are associated with less severe COVID-19 disease.


How Much Vitamin D in Food and Supplements?

Foods that contain Vitamin D include fatty fish like salmon, sardines, tuna, and egg yolk. 

In some countries, the typical recommended daily dose of Vitamin D for children is 400 units. 

For people aged 18 years and above, recommended daily Vitamin D dose could vary from 800 units to 1000 units.

Additionally, in individuals who have low levels of Vitamin D, the daily needs for Vitamin D will be higher.  

But, excess doses of Vitamin D for prolonged periods can increase your risk of developing kidney stones.

It can also cause calcium buildup in the blood vessels.

But remember - taking more than maintenance doses of Vitamin D (over 1000 units per day in kids or more than 4000 units per day in adults) is considered harmful.

In addition, the best multivitamin will contain Vitamin D amounts that meet the daily need, so that additional supplementation is not required.

Most importantly, this should guide people to know how much Vitamin D they need.


Research on Vitamin D with COVID-19

Here are the summaries of two clinical research papers on Vitamin D concerning COVID.

  • Firstly, in winter climates, there is reduced exposure to sun rays which usually help the skin to produce vitamin D.   
    • Reduced stay home periods and outdoor movements lead to reduced sun exposure and thus the ability to make Vitamin D in the body (learn more about how this works here). 

  • Secondly, low vitamin D has been linked with respiratory infections due to reduced immunity.
    • As a result, some scientists believe maintaining healthy vitamin D levels to boost the immune system is essential.


Summary: How much Vitamin D You Need? (Three-Nation Review)

Vitamin D
RDA
NIGERIA
(IU)
UNITED
KINGDOM
(IU)
UNITED
STATES
(IU)
CHILDREN200400 - 600400 - 600
ADULTS200 - 600400 - 800600 - 800
OTHER GROUPS*variesvariesvaries
Recommended Daily Amounts (RDA) for Vitamin D

*RDAs may vary from one country to another - and people with known risk factors for low Vitamin D may require more.

For instance, in Nigeria, people such as those with obesity, fat malabsorption or women who are menopausal need 800 to 1000 IU vitamin D per day.


Conclusion

During Covid-19, it helps to keep your vitamin D levels at normal range.

Fortunately, this is easily achieved through your diet, supplements and adequate (not excess) sunlight exposure.

Low levels of Vitamin D can be detected by blood tests - and if low, you will be given a treatment dose to return the levels to normal.

Finally. if you are unsure of your Vitamin D you need - discuss this with your doctor. Blood tests can be arranged to see if you require regular or higher doses.


Watch these Videos for more information:


Author - Contributed by Dr Ngozi Onuoha, Primary care doctor and founder of www.health4naija.com (Health through Education). Twitter @DrNgoziOnuoha


References

Vitamin D and SARS-CoV-2 virus/COVID-19 disease

Avoidance of vitamin D deficiency to slow the COVID-19 pandemic

Maintaining required level of vitamin D essential for health

More Reading:

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Editing by AskAwayHealth Team

Disclaimer

All AskAwayHealth articles are written by practising  Medical Practitioners on a wide range of health care conditions to provide evidence-based guidance and to help promote quality health care. The advice in our material is not meant to replace the management of your specific condition by a qualified health care practitioner.
To discuss your condition, please contact a health practitioner or reach us directly through info@askawayhealth.org

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