How important is a good vitamin D supply?
Vitamin D is not only important for bone health, but can also protect against acute respiratory infections such as colds, reports the German Nutrition Society (DGE) from the results of a current overview article (Umbrella Review).
For the review, DGE scientists examined the connections between vitamin D and respiratory and autoimmune diseases as well as the occurrence of neurodegenerative and mental illnesses. Accordingly, there is an inverse relationship between the vitamin D status and the risk of acute respiratory infections. The lower the vitamin D status, the higher the risk of respiratory infections. In the case of other symptoms, however, the connections are less clear.
Update of the scientific data
With its Umbrella Review, the DGE is updating the state of knowledge about the possible role of vitamin D in the prevention and treatment of respiratory diseases such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and acute respiratory infections, mental illnesses such as dementia and decreased cognitive performance, depression and autoimmune diseases Multiple sclerosis (MS) and type 1 diabetes mellitus.
For the comprehensive review, the DGE Science Unit, in cooperation with a working group of the Scientific Presidium of the DGE 73, qualitatively analyzed and evaluated systematic reviews.
Preventive Effects of Vitamin D.
An inverse relationship was observed between the vitamin D status and the risk of acute respiratory infections. The lower the vitamin D status, the higher the risk of respiratory infections. In addition, according to the DGE, if the vitamin D supply is inadequate, supplementation with vitamin D could have a positive effect on the prevention of acute respiratory infections.
However, conclusions for the prevention of COVID-19 cannot currently be drawn from the data, as all the studies assessed were carried out before the pandemic occurred, emphasizes the DGE.
The preventive effect of many diseases is unclear
In observational studies, an inverse relationship was also found between vitamin D status and the risk of dementia and a decrease in cognitive performance and depression. However, these results could not be clearly confirmed in controlled studies, according to the association.
With regard to preventive aspects of the vitamin D status for asthma, MS and type 1 diabetes mellitus, the available data from observational studies by the DGE were inconclusive. In addition, there are no data from controlled studies regarding an association between vitamin D and the prevention of asthma, COPD, MS and type 1 diabetes mellitus, according to the DGE.
Therapeutic benefits especially in the case of vitamin D deficiency
Adequate vitamin D status can reduce the risk of asthma worsening in childhood, according to the review. Regarding vitamin D and asthma in the adult population, however, the available data are not sufficient to draw reliable conclusions.
In patients with COPD, beneficial therapeutic effects of vitamin D have only been shown in the presence of a vitamin D deficiency, explains the DGE.
The family doctor can determine the vitamin D status based on the 25 (OH) D concentration in the blood, but this is usually billed as an individual health service (IGeL). If the value is below 25-30 nmol / l (10-12 ng / ml), there is a deficient vitamin D supply. The optimal range should be at least 50 nmol / l (20 ng / ml), explains the DGE.
What dosages are recommended?
With regard to the dosage, the specialist society declares that vitamin D doses of 20 µg (800 IU) can be considered safe and contribute significantly to achieving circulating 25 (OH) D concentrations of at least 50 nmol / l, so that of a sufficient vitamin D supply can be assumed.
The DGE points out that supplementation that goes beyond what is required, especially in the form of high doses, does not bring any preventive benefits. It should also be pointed out here that excessive vitamin D intake can, under certain circumstances, also pose a health risk. Should supplementation, e.g. B. be necessary due to a lack of endogenous production, the DGE advises continuous daily doses in the recommended daily intake of 10 to 20 µg (400-800 IU). (fp; source: DGE)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical professionals.
Dipl. Geogr. Fabian Peters
- German Nutrition Society (DGE): Good vitamin D status can protect against acute respiratory infections (published November 24, 2020), dge.de
This article is for general guidance only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. He can not substitute a visit at the doctor.