Vitamin D supplementation and BAME healthcare workers
Last updated 1 August 2020
**Update July 2020 - UK Government advice during the COVID 19 pandemic is that everyone should consider taking 10 micrograms of vitamin D a day**
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The Association is aware of disproportionate rates of COVID-19 infection in Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) healthcare workers compared to the white population and also with sex, age, comorbidities and a high BMI. The relationship between Vitamin D and respiratory infections risk has long been known. We bring the information together here for all members to consider how it might impact on their own wellbeing.
Recommendation for all
Public Health England (PHE) recommends that all adults should consider 10 μg (400IU) a day for routine supplementation. It has long recognized that it is difficult in the UK to achieve the recommended amount of vitamin D from food alone.
Higher Risk Groups
Specific groups at higher risk of vitamin D deficiency in the UK include those with dark skin, for example >4/5 South Asians in the UK were found to have Vitamin D deficiency. Others at high risk of low vitamin D levels are those with obesity and older age groups.
Known Effect on Acute Respiratory Infection
On meta-analysis, Vitamin D supplementation has been previously shown to be effective at reducing respiratory tract infections.
Regarding COVID-19, some studies have strongly associated low vitamin D levels to poor outcomes.
Regarding COVID-19, some studies have strongly associated low vitamin D levels to poor outcomes. Recommendations for greater supplementation than 10 μg (400IU) daily remains controversial.
recommend higher levels of supplementation or screening for deficiency but warn against “megadoses.” - that is not >100μg (4000IU)/day without specific medical advice.
Treatment Doses and Toxicity
Recommendations for treatment supplementation for proven deficiency or insufficiency are very large 50,000 IU/week for 6 weeks or 4000 IU daily for 10 weeks respectively.