Vitamin D3 also known as the sunshine vitamin. Vitamin D3 can be synthesised in the skin upon exposure to Ultraviolet - B (UVB) radiation from sunlight. Sunlight is less available in winter especially in Northern Europe and in summer advice to use sun block to avoid excessive sun exposure reduces the body's ability to produce Vitamin D. Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin and advice to eat lower fat diets may contribute to reduce the intake of Vitamin D. As a result, Vitamin D requirements in Ireland and the U.K. may be difficult to fulfil without supplementation.
Proposed Protective against Covid-19
Studies have shown that people with low vitamin D levels have a higher risk of acute respiratory tract infection and community-acquired pneumonia. There are also a significant number of studies which have indicated that vitamin D supplementation may reduce the likelihood of acute respiratory tract infection, and decrease its severity and duration where such infection does occur, this may include Covid-19. The research highlights the key role of vitamin D in the body’s immune response to fight infection.It also emphasises the importance of an increasing intake while staying at home or cocooning. It finds that Vitamin D is a “potent immune modifying micronutrient” and that healthy levels “could benefit vulnerable adults – in particular those 70+ years and older who are ‘cocooning’ during the COVID-19 outbreak.”Some 27% of Irish adults over 70 who are cocooning are estimated to be deficient in vitamin D.
The report finds that vitamin D plays a critical role in preventing respiratory infections, reducing antibiotic use and boosting the immune system response to infection.