It's inexpensive and effective. Why wouldn't you want to include vitamin D in your immunity supplements SKUs?

Todd Runestad, Content Director,

February 4, 2021

2 Min Read
In COVID times, vitamin D leads the immune supplement charge

In COVID times, vitamin D is the answer for supplements inclusion.

While elderberry sales have been going through the roof in 2021 as Americans stock up and use immune-enhancing supplements, from a purely scientific perspective, vitamin D is a clear nutritional winner in these COVID times.

Vitamin D is widely familiar—ask anyone who buys a gallon of milk—and a very inexpensive ingredient. That makes it an easy inclusion for manufacturers and marketers looking to jump on the immunity bandwagon by refreshing old SKUs with a healthy 2,000 IU/serving dose of vitamin D.

There are currently 73 studies under way investigating vitamin D with COVID. Some of the recent published research studies demonstrate that vitamin D blood levels matter. Once news of the robust body of accumulating research percolates into the culture, consumers should be looking for vitamin D in their immunity supplements. Here’s a sampling of recent research validating the importance of vitamin D.

  • In one 2000 study, patients with circulating blood levels of vitamin D below 20 ng/ml—considered the cutoff between deficient and sufficient by the Institutes of Medicine (IOM)—have double the likelihood of having poor COVID outcomes, and a two to three times higher risk of dying. If blood levels are below 12 ng/dl, patients have a sixfold greater likelihood of having poor outcomes and a sevenfold higher risk of dying.

  • In the SHADE study among patients presenting with blood levels lower than 10 ng/dl—frank deficiency—doctors administered 60,000 IU/day vitamin D for seven days. The group receiving the vitamin D had three times the negative COVID test rate compared to the placebo group. “It makes you clear the virus quicker,” said Todd Harrison, president of the Organic & Natural Health Association at the trade group’s virtual conference.

  • A population-based study in Israel found that, using the cutoff of vitamin D blood levels of 30 ng/dl, 90% of those with blood levels below 30 ng/dl tested positive and only 10% tested positive with blood levels over 30 ng/dl.

Related:Marketer of vitamin D products enjoined from making COVID-19 claims

About the Author(s)

Todd Runestad

Content Director,, Natural Products Insider

Todd Runestad has been writing on nutrition science news since 1997. He is content director for and Natural Products Insider digital magazines. Other incarnations: supplements editor for, Delicious Living!, and Natural Foods Merchandiser. Former editor-in-chief of Functional Ingredients magazine and still covers raw material innovations and ingredient science.

Connect with me here on LinkedIn.


Todd writes about nutrition science news such as this story on mitochondrial nutrients, innovative ingredients such as this story about 12 trendy new ingredient launches from SupplySide West 2023, and is a judge for the NEXTY awards honoring innovation, integrity and inspiration in natural products including his specialty — dietary supplements. He extensively covered the rise and rise and rise and fall of cannabis hemp CBD. He helps produce in-person events at SupplySide West and SupplySide East trade shows and conferences, including the wildly popular Ingredient Idol game show, as well as Natural Products Expo West and Natural Products Expo East and the NBJ Summit. He was a board member for the Hemp Industries Association.

Education / Past Lives

In previous lives Todd was on the other side of nature from natural products — natural history — as managing editor at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. He's sojourned to Burning Man and Mount Everest. He graduated many moons ago from the State University of New York College at Oneonta.


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