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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}

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Editor’s note

The article by Lanham-New et al. constitutes a consensus of experts from the UK and other countries. They all agree that avoiding low vitamin D status is important for many health reasons, and possibly also because of the potentially, but not proven lower risk of infection and death from Covid-19, as more studies are needed. They agree that avoiding deficiency can usually be achieved within current national guidelines, highlighting vitamin D-rich foods and moderately dosed vitamin D supplements.

Because the infection is still new, there is much that needs to be learned and many investigators are making great strides in understanding the role of specific nutrition factors for resisting infection and for the most effective treatment of ongoing disease.

This Journal strives to apply rigorous scientific standards to all its content. Categorical general statements about the lack of benefit from vitamin D are not supported by any evidence at this time, not least because a growing number of observations and study results that point to an important role. They can even be contradictive as many people, especially in northern latitudes have poor vitamin D status, which is one of the overarching messages of the article.

In the end, it is good to emphasize that the authors all agree, that preventing vitamin D deficiency is important for many health reasons, but for the prevention of deficiency the use of supplements with more than 4000 IU vitamin D is rarely necessary or justified and is strongly cautioned against.

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 …

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