Vitamin D helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body, and these nutrients are needed to keep muscle, teeth and bones healthy.
But can it help with symptoms of Covid-19 and how can we avoid a vitamin D deficiency during the UK lockdown?
Here’s what you need to know.
Why is vitamin D important for our health?
Vitamin D is important for our health because it helps to regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body, which are nutrients needed to keep muscle, teeth and bones healthy.
A lack of vitamin D can lead to bone deformities such as rickets in children, and bone pain caused by a condition called osteomalacia in adults.
Where do we get vitamin D from?
From around late March to the end of September, most people should be able to get all the vitamin D they need from sunlight.
The body creates vitamin D from direct sunlight on the skin when outdoors.
However, between October and early March we don't get enough vitamin D from sunlight.
vitamin D is also found in a small number of foods, including:
-oily fish – such as salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel-red meat-liver-egg yolks-fortified foods – such as most fat spreads and some breakfast cereals
Can vitamin D help with the symptoms of Covid-19?
Although vitamin D does not prevent you from getting coronavirus, Dr Chris spoke about the importance of vitamin D amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic on This Morning.
He encouraged the public to consider taking a vitamin D supplement in order to help their body fight coronavirus, explaining that the vitamin could help your immune system tackle Covid-19 symptoms.
Dr Chris also recommended looking for supplements that had 'vitamin D3' on the label.
Dr Chris suggested taking a vitamin D supplement, as it can be difficult to get the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of the vitamin while staying inside during the lockdown.
He told presenters Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford, “Vitamin D is made in your skin and in the action of sunshine.
"We are all low on vitamin D, and we should be taking vitamin D.”
Dr Chris read out a research paper that states: "Vitamin D deficiency is common - we recommend that those at risk of coronavirus urgently supplement with Vitamin D to enhance their resistance to Covid-19, and this advice is to be extended to the general adult public."
How much vitamin D do I need?
According to the NHS, babies up to the age of one year need 8.5 to 10 micrograms of vitamin D a day.
Children from the age of one year and adults need 10 micrograms of vitamin D a day, which includes pregnant and breastfeeding women, and people at risk of vitamin D deficiency.
The NHS notes that you should consider taking a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D.
How to avoid vitamin D deficiency during lockdown
As the UK lockdown continues and we are not able to leave our house as often as usual, it is more difficult to get vitamin D from natural sunlight.
The NHS website explains that there may already be people at risk of vitamin D deficiency, noting, “Some people won't get enough vitamin D from sunlight because they have very little or no sunshine exposure.”
The Department of Health recommends that you take a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D throughout the year if you:
-aren't often outdoors – for example, if you're frail or housebound-are in an institution like a care home-usually wear clothes that cover up most of your skin when outdoors
If you have dark skin – for example you have an African, African-Caribbean or south Asian background – you may not get enough vitamin D from sunlight, so you should also consider taking a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D throughout the year.