Does vitamin D deficiency have a role in COVID-19 severity?
Dr Norman Swan
The vitamin D story and COVID-19 is complicated. So, for example, people are looking to see whether winter makes the virus behave more badly, if you like. And some people have said well, maybe the thing about winter is not so much the temperature, but the fact that people are indoors, particularly in the Northern Hemisphere, and their vitamin D levels go down. And people have suggested that it might be a relationship between vitamin D and the likelihood of getting severe COVID-19 disease. That is really still an open question.
The other interesting question is, whether with all this social distancing and lockdown and just staying indoors and not getting out into the sun, whether that is actually going to create a problem of vitamin D deficiency. It certainly will in people with dark skins, because if you’ve got a dark skin you don’t metabolise the sunlight as well into vitamin D. And it’s probably true of the elderly as well, who may well be on the margins of vitamin D deficiency. If you’re concerned about that, it won’t do any harm to go on a small dose of vitamin D supplementation. There’s no case for having vitamin D testing, it’s not going to tell you very much and it’s not very accurate.
Last Reviewed: 08/07/2020