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Vitamin D and SARS-CoV-2 virus/COVID-19 disease
  1. Susan A Lanham-New1,
  2. Ann R Webb2,
  3. Kevin D Cashman3,
  4. Judy L Buttriss4,
  5. Joanne L Fallowfield5,
  6. Tash Masud6,
  7. Martin Hewison7,
  8. John C Mathers8,
  9. Mairead Kiely3,
  10. Ailsa A Welch9,
  11. Kate A Ward10,
  12. Pamela Magee11,
  13. Andrea L Darling1,
  14. Tom R Hill8,
  15. Carolyn Greig12,
  16. Colin P Smith13,
  17. Richard Murphy14,
  18. Sarah Leyland15,
  19. Roger Bouillon16,
  20. Sumantra Ray11,17,18 and
  21. Martin Kohlmeier18,19
  1. 1 Department of Nutritional Sciences, School of Biosciences and Medicine, Faculty of Health & Medical Sciences, University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey, UK
  2. 2 Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK
  3. 3 School of Food and Nutritional Sciences, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland
  4. 4 British Nutrition Foundation, London, UK
  5. 5 Applied Physiology, Institute of Naval Medicine, Gosport, UK
  6. 6 Department of Medicine, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, Nottingham, UK
  7. 7 Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK
  8. 8 Human Nutrition Research Centre, Population Health Sciences Institute, Newcastle University, Newcastle, UK
  9. 9 Norwich Medical School, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK
  10. 10 MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology, NIHR Biomedical Research Centre, University of Southampton and University Hospitals Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, Southampton, UK
  11. 11 School of Biomedical Sciences, Ulster University at Coleraine, Coleraine, UK
  12. 12 School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences and MRC-Versus Arthritis Centre for Musculoskeletal Ageing Research, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK
  13. 13 School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences, University of Brighton, Brighton, UK
  14. 14 Centre for Environment & Sustainability, Faculty of Engineering & Physical Sciences, University of Surrey, Guildford, UK
  15. 15 Royal Osteoporosis Society, Camerton, Bath, UK
  16. 16 Laboratory of Clinical and Experimental Endocrinology, Department of Chronic Diseases, Metabolism and Ageing, KU Leuven, 3000 Leuven, Belgium
  17. 17 School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
  18. 18 NNEdPro Global Centre for Nutrition and Health, St John’s Innovation Centre, Cambridge, UK
  19. 19 School of Medicine & Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill & UNC Nutrition Research Institute, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
  1. Correspondence to Professor Susan A Lanham-New, Nutritional Sciences, University of Surrey Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Guildford GU2 7XH, UK; s.lanham-new{at}surrey.ac.uk

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Background and aim

The spread of novel SARS-CoV-2 virus, and the disease COVID-19 that is caused by SARS-CoV-2, continues apace. Saving lives and slowing the worldwide pandemic remain of utmost importance to everyone: the public, healthcare professionals, scientists, industry and governments.

It is absolutely essential that advice given to the public is evidence-based, accurate and timely; anything less would mislead and has the potential to cause harm. Popular information channels, such as social media platforms, have been rife with misinformation that has been perpetuated by fear and uncertainty. This has been the case particularly for diet and lifestyle advice. There are recommendations for the prevention of the spread of COVID-19 from the WHO,1 the UK,2 Irish3 and USA4 governments and the European Commission,5 as well as public health and healthcare agencies, including key direction on self-isolation.6

This short original report aims to provide a balanced scientific view on vitamin D and SARS-CoV-2 virus/COVID-19 disease. It provides a succinct summary of the current scientific evidence of associations between vitamin D, influenza, upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs) and immune health. Importantly, the paper concludes with lifestyle strategies for avoiding vitamin D deficiency and ensuring a healthy balanced diet at any time, including during the current pandemic. The overarching messages are as follows: (1) Vitamin D is essential for good health. (2) Many people, particularly those living in northern latitudes (such as the UK, Ireland, Northern Europe, Canada and the northern parts of the USA, northern India and China), have poor vitamin D status, especially in winter or if confined indoors. (3) Low vitamin D status may be exacerbated during this COVID-19 crisis (eg, due to indoor living and hence reduced sun exposure), and anyone who is self-isolating with limited access to sunlight is advised to take a vitamin D …

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