Can vitamin D help fight against coronavirus?

Woman looking out her window. (Photo: Getty Images)
Woman looking out her window. (Photo: Getty Images)

We might still be subjected to strict stay-at-home orders, but if recent research is to be believed we still need to make time to soak up the sun.

A study carried out by scientists from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Foundation Trust and the University of East Anglia have linked low levels of the hormone vitamin D with the high Covid-19 mortality rates across Europe.

The team of researchers analysed the average levels of vitamin D among the citizens of 20 European countries, and then compared the figures with the relative numbers of Covid-19 deaths in each country.

Statistically, they found that there was a clear correlation between the figures, where populations with lower-than-average concentrations of the vitamin also featured more deaths from the coronavirus.

The team of scientists feel confident there’s a clear link between Covid-19 deaths and exposure to sunshine, reports Science Alert, and have advised that people should include “vitamin D supplementation to protect against SARS-CoV2 infection”.

“The most vulnerable group of the population for Covid-19 is also the one that has the most deficit in vitamin D,” they concluded.

It’s worth pointing out that the results haven’t yet been peer-reviewed, but they do match other studies that also suggest healthy vitamin D levels can reduce the risk of respiratory infections such as influenza and TB, as well as childhood asthma.

Vitamin D is also known to promote healthy bones and supports immune system functions.

The human body produces vitamin D naturally when it’s directly exposed to sunlight, but it can also be obtained from eating foods such as fatty fish, egg yolks, mushrooms and cheese.

A leading Australian health expert has revealed that stepping out in the sun for just 10 minutes per day can greatly reduce the risk of dying from Covid-19.

“Now, more than ever, is not the time to be vitamin D deficient,” Dr Neale told The Australian.

“It would make sense that being vitamin D deficient would increase the risk of having symptomatic COVID-19 and potentially having worse symptoms. And that's because vitamin D seems to have important effects on the immune system.”

Sources: Research Square, Science Alert, NCBI, Science Daily, Medical News, The Australian

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