Why do we need Vitamin D?

Nearly all our cells have Vitamin D receptors, so it’s clearly an important nutrient throughout our body.1,2 Vitamin D’s role in the body is closely linked to the mineral nutrient, calcium, which is essential for building and sustaining strong healthy bones.1

Vitamin D’s Role in Bone Health

One of Vitamin D’s key actions is to maintain normal levels of calcium in our bloodstream – it does this by promoting calcium absorption from food in the gut, and the reabsorption of calcium in the kidneys.3 It can also stimulate release of calcium from our bones, especially when blood calcium levels are low.3 A lack of Vitamin D thus can cause calcium deficiency, resulting in rickets in the young, or osteoporosis in the elderly. These are diseases characterised by soft or brittle bones that are prone to injury.1

Low Vitamin D and Related Disorders

Current evidence also links low Vitamin D to increased risk of type 1 or type 2 diabetes, muscle and bone pain, colorectal or breast cancer, depression, and even hair loss.2,4,5 Maintaining healthy levels of Vitamin D can also strengthen our immune system,1,2 an increasingly important consideration during this COVID-19 pandemic.

Recent studies have shown that COVID-19 patients who were Vitamin D deficient upon hospital admission were at higher risk for severe illness and death.6 In fact, maintaining healthy Vitamin D levels has been shown to support healthy lung function and even protect against some respiratory infections as it increases the activity and production of antibacterial and antiviral proteins in our bodies.7,8


Given its important role in maintaining our health and the high prevalence of Vitamin D deficiency worldwide, there is generally nothing to lose, and potentially much to gain, with the treatment and prevention of Vitamin D deficiency, pandemic or no pandemic!

1)   National Institutes of Health. Vitamin D Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. Available at: Accessed 30 June 2021.
2)   Nair R, Maseeh A. J Pharmacol Pharmacother 2012;3:118-126.
3)   Khammissa RAG, et al. BioMed Res Int. 2018;2018:9276380
4)   Banihashemi M, et al. Int J Trichology 2016;8:116-120.
5)   Aljabri KS, et al. Ann Saudi Med 2020;30:454-458.
6)   Campi I, et al. BMC Infect Dis 2021;21:566.
7)   Martineau AR, et al. BMJ 2017;356:i6583.
8)   Hughes DA, Norton R. Clin Exp Immunol 2009;158:20-25.


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