Vitamin D, Ageing and COVID 19 Implications


Vitamin D is essential for older adults to help maintain bone and muscle health, plays a key role in the prevention and the treatment of falls and fractures and helps the absorption of calcium from the gut (Committee to Review Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin D and Calcium, 2011).Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to various health problems, including cognitive decline, depression, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, and cancer (Hossein-nezhad A, 2013)

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The concept of “inflamm-aging”- With increased age, there is a shift in the immune response to a more pro-inflammatory state, which may lead to chronic low-level inflammation and a slow accumulation of damage, with subsequent progression to chronic disease. (Ferrucci L, 2018)Experiments and research has shown that vitamin D can alter the immune system response through its influence on the production and manufacturing of immune molecules known as cytokines.


Factors contributing to Vitamin D Deficiency /Insufficiency in the aging adult (Meehan M, 2014)–

  • Age > 50
  • Female Gender
  • Dark Skin Pigmentation
  • Poor Skin Integrity
  • Reduced Time Spent Outdoors
  • Decreased Intake of Vitamin D
  • Obesity (BMI >30)
  • Malabsorption Disorders
  • Reduced Renal Function
  • Medications (e.g. Anticonvulsants)

Vitamin D had a significant protective effect when it was given daily or weekly to people with lowest vitamin D levels: the risk of having at least one ARI was reduced from 60% to 32% in these people. Overall, vitamin D supplements reduced the risk of having at least one ARI. (Zhou YF, 2019)

A report obtained from TILDA study in Irish individuals 1 in 5 are vitamin D deficient during the winter and 1 in 12 during the summer. Of particular concern is that nearly 30% of those aged 70+ and 47% of those aged 85+ are deficient in vitamin D. These age groups are considered ‘extremely medically vulnerable’ to the adverse health outcomes of COVID-19. Groups of concern were that very high levels of vitamin D deficiency in those who are obese and those with pre-existing lung conditions. (Laird E, 2020) The report came forward with recommendations: 400 IU is the minimum recommended daily during the wintertime, between 15 -20 microgram (800-1,000 IU/day) recommended for most at risk groups.

Please always ensure to check with your Doctor / Healthcare / GP before starting with any new medication or therapy.

Take the free Vitamin D Test – Click hereVitamin D Self Examination


Committee to Review Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin D and Calcium, I. o. (2011). Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium and Vitamin D. The National Academies Process.

Ferrucci L, F. E. (2018). Inflammageing: chronic inflammation in ageing, cardiovascular disease and fratility. Nat Rev Cardiol.

Hossein-nezhad A, H. M. (2013). Vitamin D for health: a global perspective. Mayo Clin Proc. , 88(7):720–55.

Laird E, K. R. (2020). Vitamin D deficiency in Ireland- implications for COVID 19. Results from the Irish longitudnal Study on Ageing .

Meehan M, P. S. (2014). The Role of Vitamin D in the Aging Adult. Journal of aging and gerontology, 60-71.

Zhou YF, L. B. (2019). The association between vitamin D deficiency and community-acquired pneumonia: A meta-analysis of observational studies. Medicine , 98:e17252.

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