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Sunshine Vitamin: The importance of Vitamin D and Covid-19

CAPE TOWN – Researchers look into the important role Vitamin D plays in the fight against Covid-19 with several other studies finding vitamin D deficiency linked to severe symptoms.

As we await the full development of the Covid-19 vaccine, many are looking at supplements and vitamins to bolster their immune system in efforts to fight off Covid-19.

Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, points out that most of those “so-called immune-boosting supplements” you see advertised nearly everywhere during the pandemic actually do nothing, although there is an important supplement that plays a vital role in boosting the immune system – vitamin D.

A study published in The BMJ looking into vitamin D supplementation to prevent acute respiratory tract infections with 25 controlled trials with around 11 000 participants aged between 0 to 95 years, the researchers found that vitamin D supplements had reduced the risk of acute respiratory tract infection amongst all participants.

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Although many factors may contribute to severe Covid-19 symptoms and outcomes, another study found that countries further away from the equator experienced higher Covid-19 death rates where many people are vitamin D deficient due to a reduced amount of sunlight.

With the nickname of ‘sunshine vitamin’, Nicole Avena, PhD, an assistant professor of neuroscience at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, said, “We make vitamin D by being exposed to sunlight, and in the colder months people can become deficient.”

Researchers continue to look further into other forms of Covid-19 treatment such as vitamin C and zinc, however, none match the benefits vitamin D which is difficult to get enough through food, unlike the other vitamins, making supplements and direct sunlight the best option.

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