Are you getting enough Vitamin D?
A recent paper has highlighted a link between Vitamin D deficiency and severe Covid-19. The authors found that, in the first wave of the pandemic, those patients with a deficiency in Vitamin D on admission to hospital had increased odds of dying.
They also found that 60% of people admitted to hospital were Vitamin D deficient!
Now it should be said that it isn't clear whether the reduced levels of Vitamin D are result of more severe disease or a factor leading to more severe disease.
The other notable finding was that the reduced levels of vitamin D were more common in men than women and the authors suggested that this is possibly due to a greater proportion of women taking vitamin D supplementation in order to reduce risk of osteoporosis.
The role of vitamin D in the regulation of calcium in the body is well known and is important for maintaining healthy teeth, bones and muscles.
Our bodies manufacture Vitamin D in our skin on exposure to sunlight and we can also obtain some vitamin D from foods such as red meat, oily fish and fortified foods such as cereals
However, in the British climate it is thought that many people will be deficient, especially
during colder weather when we spend less time outside, are more covered up and the sun, when it does get to our skin is much less strong.
So what is the take home message here?
While it is too early to say that maintaining Vitamin D levels will protect from or treat Covid-19 it is clear that adequate levels are really important for many functions of the body.
As such the NHS recommendation is that a supplement of 10mg (or 400iu) Vitamin D is taken between October and March, over the dark winter months and it would seem, with easily available Vitamin D supplements, to be an easy way to mitigate the risk of coronavirus symptoms as well.
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© Ian Thornley, Dec 2020.