Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:


Sixty seconds on . . . vitamin D

BMJ 2020; 371 doi: (Published 05 October 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;371:m3872

Rapid Response:

Deficiency of vitamin D must be corrected if best immune response is wanted

Dear Editor,

I couldn’t agree more with my Australian GP colleague, Dr. Peter Lewis.

We have well reported widespread vitamin D deficiency in the UK. Vitamin D, however, is undisputedly an important actor in the immune system. Why, therefore, do we have to prove that it is beneficial not to be D-deficient, especially now, during a pandemic, when our immune systems should be in perfect condition to battle viruses?

But we tolerate that half the population is grossly deficient, the other half less so, but still deficient. And call it 'genetic' when far too many people of BAME back ground died of covid19.

Why would we only be told about this vitamin deficiency when a link to covid19 can be proven?

Why do our public health departments hesitate? Why not think of a practical solution, as suggested by 7 professors and consultants of the UK and Ireland in a letter to The Times today (6/10/20)? Why not give vitamin D the benefit of the doubt? Why not look to our neighbouring countries? For instance, Norway, Sweden, Finland, who have similar latitude, genetics, climate, but all have a much higher awareness of the need to take sufficient supplements, as well as public implementation of effective food fortification. In spite of the latest NICE review, ample evidence does exist, if one cares to look.

Competing interests: No competing interests

06 October 2020
Helga M Rhein
retired general practitioner
Sighthill Health Centre
380 Calder Road, Edinburgh EH11 4AU