Vitamin D In The Pandemic

Vitamin D in the pandemic or how consumer advocates confuse the population – could be the title of this article. On its website, the German Society for Nutrition explains surprising things about the correct supply of vitamin D in times of a pandemic.

Confusion part 1: How you can get vitamin D despite the ban on contact

“Especially in times of a pandemic, you should know how you can get vitamin D despite the ban on contact,” says the German Nutrition Society. V. (DGE).

If that statement makes you feel like your brain is becoming a knot, that’s completely normal. It is an apologist. An apologist describes an illogical situation. A popular example of this is the sentence “It’s colder at night than outside”.

Nevertheless, the statement “Despite the ban on contact, you can now do something for your vitamin D household” can be found in a press release on the website of the German Society for Nutrition (DGE) on the subject of vitamin D supply during a pandemic.

The DGE is an independent scientific specialist society that sees its tasks in nutritional education and quality assurance in nutritional advice and education and thus wants to make a contribution to the health of the population. The association is 70 percent financed by the federal and state governments and has an annual budget of over 8 million euros (2018).

There is no connection between social distancing and vitamin D

The sentence in question is logical and absurd because the vitamin D household does not care whether you maintain contact or not – unless it is about a ban on contact with the sun, which can be ruled out in view of the DGE text content can.

Because you don’t read anything about the sun there. Instead, one surprisingly learns that “taking vitamin D supplements in low doses (7.5 to 100 µg per day or 35 to 500 µg per week) can reduce the frequency of acute respiratory infections”.

It is astonishing because 100 µg is not such a low dosage, which still corresponds to 4,000 IU of vitamin D, which is quite decent given the daily dose of 800 IU usually recommended by the DGE.

(Other associations and professionals recommend 4000 IU of vitamin D (or more) per day for prevention.)

Confusion Part 2: Acute respiratory infections can also be caused by viruses

But then they immediately backtracked – with the sentences: “Based on the study results so far, no general recommendation for the intake of vitamin D preparations to prevent acute respiratory infections can be made. Acute respiratory infections can have various causes, such as viral or bacterial infections.”

Such a statement on the part of supposed experts is surprising again, it is almost another alogism. Because it sounds as if the DGE editorial team believes that a vitamin D deficiency can be just as much a cause of acute respiratory infections as viruses and bacteria.

Here’s the information to clear things up:

  • 90 percent of all acute respiratory diseases are due to viruses. The small remainder is caused by bacteria or, in exceptional cases (in the case of a pronounced immune deficiency), is caused by fungi.
  • Basically, vitamin D deficiency is not a cause of respiratory diseases, but a risk factor – i.e. a factor that leads to a weakened immune system and thus makes the body more susceptible to viruses, bacteria, fungi, etc.

We have already described how and why a vitamin D deficiency increases the risk of acute respiratory infections based on scientific studies in our article Why vitamin D is so important when there is an increased risk of infection.

In our summary of the most important measures to strengthen the immune system, we explain specifically how vitamin D influences the immune system.

Confusion Part 3: 800 IU of vitamin D is enough, even if you actually need more
Back to the DGE press release: So having explained that taking vitamin D in doses of up to 4,000 IU (especially if there was a previous deficiency) can reduce the incidence of respiratory diseases, it is finally advised to take vitamin D in the form of supplements should only be taken if the vitamin D supply cannot be secured via the skin’s own synthesis and via nutrition.

We agree. At this point, however, an association that cares about people’s health should advise having their personal vitamin D levels determined and then taking the individually required amount of vitamin D.

Not so the DGE. At this point, it specifies an intake of 20 µg (= 800 IU) of vitamin D per day as “adequate” if the body does not produce it naturally.

You can’t stop being amazed. So although daily doses of up to 4,000 IU are described as effective above, whereby the effectiveness of vitamin D supplementation – according to the DGE – depends on the vitamin D status, suddenly 800 IU is sufficient for every person – and that even if the body does not produce the vitamin naturally!

Conclusion: Vitamin D in a pandemic – this is how you are properly supplied

We summarize the matter as follows: The adequate supply of vitamin D in a pandemic (or outside of a pandemic) has nothing to do with a possible ban on contact. (Unless you cannot leave the house to soak up the sun without the help of other people, which was not addressed by the DGE).

It is false that everyone is well supplied with a daily dose of 800 IU of vitamin D.

On the other hand, it is true that the dosage and intake of vitamin D preparations should be individualized, whereby the daily required vitamin D dose can significantly exceed the 800 IU specified by the DGE as a guideline. You can read how to do this in the following link about the correct intake of vitamin D.

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