Study examines media coverage of vitamin D and COVID-19 in the UK

The novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, which was caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has remained a major global concern. As a result, many sectors have been targeted to develop treatments to slow the rate of infection. One such modifiable lifestyle intervention is dietary vitamin D.

Stady: A year in the public life of COVID-19 and vitamin D: representation in UK news media and its implications for health communication. Image Credit: EReka /


The association between a reduced serum concentration of 25(OH)D with an increased susceptibility to acute respiratory infection has been the basis of the scientific debate about the possible relationship of vitamin D with COVID-19. In addition, effector mechanisms such as induction of autophagy, synthesis of reactive nitrogen and oxygen mediators by vitamin D metabolites have been reported. Therefore, it can be suggested that vitamin D provides host protection against respiratory pathogens, including SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Furthermore, many of the risk factors associated with poor COVID-19 outcomes are similar to those related to vitamin D deficiency. However, other risk factors must be considered before concluding the relationship between COVID-19 and vitamin D.

A rapid, evidence-based review conducted by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in collaboration with Public Health England and the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition urged all members of the public to take vitamin D supplementation to maintain bone and muscle health in the UK.

Moreover, previous research has indicated that the media plays a vital role in distributing information to the public. As the level of first-hand knowledge and personal experience regarding the COVID-19 pandemic is low, the public is dependent on the media for information.

New study published on prepress server medRxiv * It investigates the relationship between COVID-19 and Vitamin D which has been presented in traditional media sources such as British newspapers. The study also assessed the level of misinformation by comparing the content of newspaper articles to evidence-based guidelines from the NICE report.

about studying

The current study involved collecting data from the five most popular newspapers including The Mirror, The Sun, The Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday, Metro and Express Online in the UK from February 2020 to February 2021. The keywords ‘covid’ and ‘were used’ Vitamin D” to search for published articles.

Next, an inductive objective analysis was used to determine the relationship between COVID-19 and vitamin D presented in newspaper articles.

The number of articles published by the five most popular newspapers in the UK that contain the two keywords

Number of articles published by the five most popular UK newspapers containing the keywords ‘vitamin D’ and ‘Covid’ over the course of one year of publication. Retrieved 4/13/21.


The results indicated that newspaper articles with the keywords “vitamin D” and “Covid” declined in the period from March to August, followed by an increase and a peak in November. The majority of articles were published in Express Online compared to the other four newspapers.

Most articles stated that vitamin D was linked to COVID-19, with many articles citing “scientists” as their source. It is worth noting that some articles focused on the importance of following government guidelines to control infection.

Most media coverage of the relationship of vitamin D to COVID-19 outcomes has been based on published research findings. Some articles mentioned a causal relationship, while others indicated the need for further research. Furthermore, opinions differed regarding the use of vitamin D as a treatment for the COVID-19 virus.


“Correct” vs. “Incorrect” opinions from newspaper articles.

The articles stated that the MPs’ allegations were inaccurate. Low levels of vitamin D have been reported during lockdown periods, with many articles recommending a daily dose of vitamin D.

Few groups were reported to be at risk of developing vitamin D deficiency due to several factors and deficiency was prevalent throughout the year depending on the season. Besides its association with COVID-19, vitamin D has been reported to play a major role in maintaining overall health.

It has been reported that natural dietary sources of vitamin D are limited. Sun exposure has been reported to be the main source of vitamin D for people in the UK, as well as around the world. However, too much sunlight is harmful and can lead to cancer. Vitamin D supplementation has also been advised. However, the dose should not be more than 10 micrograms (mcg).


Taken together, the current study indicated that most of the information regarding the association between vitamin D and COVID-19 was correctly published in newspapers in the United Kingdom. the disease.

Additional research should focus on the accuracy of the information disseminated by traditional media. In the case of misinformation, the integrity of the press in all media must be improved.


Since most articles on vitamin D and COVID-19 have appeared in a newspaper, the data may be skewed.

*Important note

medRxiv It publishes preliminary scientific reports that have not been peer-reviewed and therefore should not be considered conclusive, guide clinical practice/health-related behaviour, or be treated as established information.[if–>[if–>


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