COVID-19: Vitamin D not proven

More research is needed on role in immune response

Sunshine, alluding to the benefits of Vitamin D

In a (slight) blow to those fortunate enough to be living in Madeira’s sunshine this winter, Diário de Notícias reports that the case for Vitamin D helping fight off COVID-19 is not proven.

A panel of British experts advises the UK population to take a daily vitamin D supplement this winter, to keep bones and muscles healthy in times of less sun exposure and less physical activity such as those of a pandemic, but does not see enough evidence that vitamin D supplements play a role in protecting against COVID-19.

The experts reviewed the evidence on the link between vitamin D and COVID-19, after some studies suggested that it could play a role in the body’s immune response to respiratory viruses. However, they concluded that there is “insufficient evidence” to recommend taking vitamin D to prevent or treat the disease.

Comprised of the National Institute for Health and Excellence Care (NICE), the Public Health of England and the Scientific Advisory Committee for Nutrition, the panel of experts says, however, that more research is needed, according to the BBC .

“We continue to monitor the evidence as it is published and will review and update the guidelines if necessary,” said Paul Chrisp, director of the NICE recommendation centre. Free vitamin D supplements are being offered to the most vulnerable fringes of the population in the UK.

Cited by the BBC, Adrian Martineau, professor of respiratory infection and immunity at Queen Mary University of London, said there was a possibility that the vitamin “could reduce the risk and/or severity of COVID-19” and that clinical trials currently underway progress may “shed more light on this issue”.

Vitamin D: “More important than ever”

Experts belive that taking the vitamin is particularly important this winter because of the amount of time people spend indoors in isolation, which means they may not be producing enough vitamin D from sunlight. Vitamin D can also be obtained from certain foods, such as oily fish and cereals, and supplements.

“We advise everyone – particularly the elderly, those who do not leave the house and those with dark skin – to take a vitamin D supplement containing 10 micrograms (400 IU) every day”, “This year, advice is more important than ever, as more people spend more time indoors”.

Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at the Institute of Public Health in the United Kingdom.

Thanks to Peter A for the link.

COVID-19 in Madeira: previous daily updates can be found on an earlier post.

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