Friday 3 April 2020

Vitamin D and Covid-19: doctors dying in the UK

Vitamin D and doctors in UK dying from Covid-19

Several doctors and health care workers in the UK have died as the result of Covid-19.

Is it a coincidence they they are all African and Middle-Eastern by birth? 

Such ethnicity in the UK is well-recognised as being associated with very low blood levels of Vitamin D, by virtue of skin pigmentation, sun avoidance, and dietary practice.

It is well-established that Vitamin D is a powerful mediator of immunity, in particular T-cell activation. The gene-activating pathways of this are well-defined.

Unfortunately this vital role of Vitamin D does not appear to be well-known and it does not appear to have been mentioned by the medical-scientific advisors to the UK government. This is despite that fact that greatest location of Covid-19 deaths in Europe is the Lombardy plain in northern Italy, this having the greatest level of atmospheric pollution in Europe. Atmospheric pollution has been of historic as well as current importance in blocking the penetration of sunlight to ground level, thereby inhibiting Vitamin D synthesis in the skin. It is now the end of the winter in the northern hemisphere; we know that "flu" occurs mainly in the winter, when immunity is low because of low sunlight energy with the sun being low in the sky (or being thick cloud). 

See also the analysis of deaths in Italy.

If we wish to improve immunity and thus diminish the impact of Covid-19, we have a simple and immediately available answer  – take vitamin D supplement in a dose of 2,000 units per day  and increase exposure to the sun (avoiding sunburn).

We must not let the deaths of these doctors and healthcare workers fail to alert us to what should be obvious to medical scientists.

Those who have died are as follows:

Dr Adil El Tayar
 Organ transplant surgeon St Mary’s Hospital & St George’s Hospitals

D. Amged El-Hawrani
ENT consultant, Derby & Burton Hospitals

Dr Habib Zaidi

GP in Essex

Professor Mohammed Sami Shousha, Consultant histopathologist, Caring Cross Hospital. Born in Egypt.

Dr. Alfa Sa’adu
Retired hospital medical director, born in Nigeria

Areema Nasreen

Nurse, Walsall Manor Hospital

Thomas Harvey

Health care assistant, Goodmayes Hospital, Ilford  


  1. I'm collaborating on a paper presenting evidence that Vitamin D may offer prophylaxis against Covid19 and may improve outcomes for ICU admissions. If you know anyone collecting demographic data around skin or ethnicity that we could analyse to connect to know VitD data and make the case more strongly, do let me know. We need to protect these people if they're more at risk!

    1. Do you have an email address I can contact you on? (Medical Registrar)

    2. I emailed Dr John Flack about this. He is an expert on vit d deficiency in black americans and hypertension. He had reached the same conclusion about covid mortality and skin pigmentation

  2. The failure to ensure natural optimal vitamin d levels are maintained in NHS staff appears to be institutional racism but as it takes 6000-8000iu daily to maintain 25(OH)D levels above 100nmol/l 40ng/ml the recommendation of 2000iu/daily for adults will not solve the problem.
    Evaluation of vitamin D3 intakes up to 15,000 international units/day and serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations up to 300 nmol/L on calcium metabolism in a community setting
    As it several months of daily doses in the 5000-10,000 range to raise 25(OH)D levels above 50ng/ml 125nmol/l all NHS workers should consider a Stoss therapy dose of vitamin d in the 300,000-500,000 iu range as is given to children with cystic fibrosis to improve innate immunity and protect them while in hospital.

  3. This rather puts into perspective my daily multivitamin tablet with 250 iu of Vitamin D2 which is 125% of recommended daily allowance.

    1. It is D3 that is required.

    2. I have just purchased 60 D3 tablets 1000iu each for £3.60 or 6p per tablet. I am thinking of two tablets per day.

    3. 250iu is very low - are you sure that's what you're taking? Even the NHS recommendations of 400iu (ie 10mcg) is very low - the RDAs are only recommendations to prevent deficiency diseases, in this case 'rickets' and not optimal amounts for good health.

      Dr John Briffa had a couple of blog posts a few years back where he self-experimented and found that he had to take substantially more than an RDA to get his levels up to optimum. Also, some of the medical trials looking at vitamin D supplementation found that they made no difference to whatever outcome they were seeking...but they were only giving 400iu a day, which as Briffa found out, is almost useless.

  4. Research suggests that between 5000 and 10000 iu daily is required. Dr Grimes, I’m a bit nonplussed as to why you are not recommending vitamin K2 to go alongside D3, as well as vitamin A, the tripod of immunity support.

    1. Yes, and magnesium which is needed to 'activate' vitamin D - which is a mineral that we're probably all pretty low in especially in times of 'stress', like now!

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  6. I’m looking to optimise net immunity through use is Vitamins D3 and K2 as Supplements? From what I’ve read above, taking 2 x 3000 iU tablets would not be excessive? What level of K2 is good practice please, and is the taking of magnesium beneficial given that my diet is “healthy omnivore please.
    Second question- what level of D3 would make sense for a Ghanaian national (my daughters partner) to overcome their insanely low levels given our appallingl sunshine levels? Comments most welcome

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