Did you know that Vitamin D deficiency rates surge to 40% during winter in Australia?1 In this podcast with Dr Joanna McMillan, we cover all things Vitamin D, from its role in immunity, bone and brain health to deficiency rates across the country and natural food sources, including the humble egg. We also delve into the emerging body of evidence suggesting a link between vitamin D and COVID-19 severity 2,3 and highlight the supportive role that nutrition can play in keeping you fighting fit.


Dr Joanna McMillan is one of the country’s favourite and most trusted health and nutrition experts. She is a PhD qualified nutrition scientist, Accredited Practising Dietitian, Adjunct Senior Research Fellow with La Trobe University and Fellow of the Australasian Society of Lifestyle Medicine. Joanna is an experienced TV presenter. She has worked on The Today Show for 15 years, been a host for ABC’s science show Catalyst, and is a regular on radio and in print media. She is a TEDx and international keynote speaker and MC and is the founder of Get Lean, an online lifestyle change program. She has authored several books including Get Lean Stay Lean and her latest The Feel-Good Family Food Plan and audio book Gutfull.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • Key nutrients for a strong immune system
  • The role of Vitamin D in overall health and immunity
  • Natural food sources of Vitamin D
  • The consequences of Vitamin D deficiency and deficiency rates across Australia
  • Vitamin D requirements
  • The emerging research on vitamin D, immunity and COVID-19
  • The supportive role of nutrition in disease

Additional resources

Click here to download free patient resources


1. Australian Bureau of Statistics (2014) Australian Health Survey: Biomedical Results for Nutrients, 2011-12 [Online]. Available at: https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/[email protected]/Lookup/4364.0.55.006Chapter2002011-12 (Accessed: March 2021)

2. 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.

3. Liu N, Sun J, Wang X, Zhang T, Zhao M, Li H. Low vitamin D status is associated with coronavirus disease 2019 outcomes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Int J Infect Dis. 2021 Jan 2;104:58-64. doi: 10.1016/j.ijid.2020.12.077. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33401034; PMCID: PMC7833186.

Chagas SCC, Moreira FSM, Barbosa ICF, Leal Júnior OS, Leal LB, Santana DP. Critical analysis on the use of cholecalciferol as a COVID-19 intervention: a narrative review. Sao Paulo Med J. 2021 Jan-Feb;139(1):81-87. doi: 10.1590/1516-3180.2020.0532.02112020. PMID: 33656132.

Hetta HF, Muhammad K, El-Masry EA, Taha AE, Ahmed EA, Phares C, Kader HA, Waheed Y, Zahran AM, Yahia R, Meshaal AK, El-Saber Batiha G. The interplay between vitamin D and COVID-19: protective or bystander? Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2021 Feb;25(4):2131-2145. doi: 10.26355/eurrev_202102_25119. PMID: 33660833.

Lordan R, Rando HM, Consortium CR, Greene CS. Dietary Supplements and Nutraceuticals Under Investigation for COVID-19 Prevention and Treatment. ArXiv [Preprint]. 2021 Feb 3:arXiv:2102.02250v1. PMID: 33564696; PMCID: PMC7872359

Mazziotti G, Lavezzi E, Brunetti A, Mirani M, Favacchio G, Pizzocaro A, Sandri MT, Di Pasquale A, Voza A, Ciccarelli M, Lania AG; Humanitas COVID19 Task Force. Vitamin D deficiency, secondary hyperparathyroidism and respiratory insufficiency in hospitalized patients with COVID-19. J Endocrinol Invest. 2021 Mar 5:1–9. doi: 10.1007/s40618-021-01535-2. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33666876; PMCID: PMC7934807.

Smith TJ, McClung JP. Nutrition, Immune Function, and Infectious Disease. Med J (Ft Sam Houst Tex). 2021 Jan-Mar;(PB 8-21-01/02/03):133-136. PMID: 33666926.

Sulli A, Gotelli E, Casabella A, Paolino S, Pizzorni C, Alessandri E, Grosso M, Ferone D, Smith V, Cutolo M. Vitamin D and Lung Outcomes in Elderly COVID-19 Patients. Nutrients. 2021 Feb 24;13(3):717. doi: 10.3390/nu13030717. PMID: 33668240.

This podcast is not, and is not intended to be, medical advice, which should be tailored to your individual circumstances. This podcast is for your information only, and we advise that you exercise your own judgment before deciding to use the information provided. Professional medical advice should be obtained before taking action.  Please see here for terms and conditions.

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