Eggs and Vitamin D
Eggs and Vitamin D
Almost a quarter (23%) of Australian adults have a mild or moderate vitamin D deficiency. In the cooler months, these deficiency levels rise to as high as 40%.
Studies have clearly shown that adequate intake of vitamin D is essential for bone development, skeletal health, healthy muscles and teeth and regulating the immune system.
Vitamin D Food Sources v Supplements
A well-balanced diet and sufficient sunlight exposure are generally enough for most people to meet their daily vitamin D requirements. However, for those with vitamin D deficiencies, dietary supplements are often recommended.
It is however, possible to meet the recommended daily intake of vitamin D through a well-balanced diet and sunlight, and deficiencies can be rectified without supplements.
According to Dietitian Sharon Natoli, where possible, it is best to eat a well-balanced diet, with plenty of vegetables, sufficient amounts of fruit, whole grains, dairy foods or alternatives, healthy fats and protein-rich foods, like eggs, to meet daily nutritional needs.
Do Eggs Have Vitamin D?
Recent research found an average serve of eggs (2 x 60g eggs) contains 8.2µg of vitamin D (82% of your recommended intake of vitamin D), a substantial portion of the recommended dietary vitamin D intake. This highlights that eggs are one of the highest natural sources of vitamin D.
Eggs are also very readily available and a much more affordable option to vitamin D supplements.
Other Vitamin D Food Sources
As long as we are getting sufficient sun exposure, the best source of vitamin D is sunlight.
If you aren't getting enough sun exposure then food sources become even more important. Some foods, such as eggs, provide a lot of vitamin D, while others provide smaller amounts. Some of the top food sources of vitamin D include:
Some milk, soy milks, cheese, yoghurt and breakfast cereals may also be fortified with vitamin D. Dietary choices for many Australians can be a key part to maintaining an adequate vitamin D intake. For meal inspiration to boost your vitamin D, download the recipe book at the bottom of the page.
Respiratory Infections and the Link to Vitamin D
Evidence from a 2020 systematic review and analysis of 42 trials involving 47,262 participants concluded that vitamin D intake of 10µg - 25µg was effective at reducing acute respiratory infection, including colds and flus1.
Given vitamin D’s role in the immune system, vitamin D has also been investigated for a possible role in preventing or reducing the severity of COVID-19 – also a respiratory infection.
The evidence to date has shown that adequate levels of vitamin D may play a beneficial role in protecting against the development of severe COVID-19 symptoms such as acute respiratory distress, which is the main cause of mortality in individuals with COVID-19. Reducing the incidence of acute respiratory distress will in turn decrease mortality rates from COVID-192.
Having an adequate vitamin D level may not stop individuals from contracting COVID-19, but observational evidence suggests it may decrease the risk or severity of respiratory distress and mortality.
While the evidence is promising, the relationship between vitamin D and COVID-19 is based on preliminary evidence and further investigation is needed to confirm the relationship and the exact role vitamin D is playing.
Jolliffe DA, Camargo CA, Sluyter JD, Aglipay M, Aloia JF, Ganmaa D et al (2020). Vitamin D supplementation to prevent acute respiratory infections: systematic review and meta-analysis of aggregate data from randomised controlled trials. medRxiv [Preprint]. 2020 Nov 25:2020.07.14.20152728. doi: 10.1101/2020.07.14.20152728. PMID: 33269357; PMCID: PMC7709175.
Abraham J, Dowling K, Florentine S (2021). Can Optimum Solar Radiation Exposure or Supplemented Vitamin D Intake Reduce the Severity of COVID-19 Symptoms? Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Jan 16;18(2):740. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18020740. PMID: 33467131; PMCID: PMC7829816.