The Value of Vitamin D - Studies suggest avoiding deficiency may help our resistance to viruses.
Posted on 23rd April 2020 at 11:00
My regular clients will know that I have long advocated and indeed bang on about the value of vitamin D. In part because I also tutt and huff when they arrive with an over zealous suntan (which is actually skin burn, DNA damage and a precursor to skin cancer) or gloat about being outside all day or on a sunny holiday without adequate protection. You party pooper, I hear you say. Well listen up!
In this time of lockdown (not everyone has a garden) and following Winter, where we have largely been in doors or in the dark, our vitamin D levels are depleted. Hark, the sun, I hear you say, that will boost our vitamin D! In deed it will, but beware. UVA (Ageing)and UVB (Burning) can permanently damage your skin.
Ultraviolet light causes changes in cell DNA leading to cell damage and possible cell mutations that can turn a normal skin cell into a cancerous one. UVB rays are those responsible for sunburn.
UV rays can cause premature aging of the skin and signs of sun damage such as wrinkles, leathery skin, liver spots, actinic keratosis, and solar elastosis. UV rays can also cause eye problems. They can cause the cornea (on the front of the eye) to become inflamed or burned.
The current recommendation by Public Health England (PHE) is to take daily Vitamin D supplements throughout Spring and Summer as the Coronavirus lockdown continues. Those with dark skin may not be getting enough of the vitamin even if they spend enough time outdoors because the skin pigment melanin doesnt absorb as many rays from the sun needed to allow the body to make vitamin D.
Why is vitamin D important?
The health of our bones, teeth and muscles rely on it - remember your heart is a muscle too! A lack of it can cause a bone deformity in children called Rickets and a similar condition in adults called Osteomalacia.
There is no evidence that it reduces the risk of coronavirus but some researchers suggest a deficiency might be linked to poorer outcomes if someone catches Coronavirus. Other underlying risk factors such as heart disease, are common in these patients too.
Vitamin D also has anti inflammatory effects and has been shown to dampen down the bodys immune response to viruses. It may be relevant in patients very ill with Coronavirus where severe lung damage can result from an inflammatory 'cytokine storm' in response to the virus. (Prof Jon Rhodes, emeritus professor of medicine in the UK). Research is ongoing, French and Spanish researches are doing clinical trials to see if Vitamin D helps Coronavirus patients.
Remember it is difficult to get enough Vitamin D from diet alone, although a good diet is important. Vitamin D rich foods include oily fish, eggs, some breakfast cereals, margarines and yogurts are fortified with it.
If buying a supplement ensure it is the D3 variety. It is available as pure vitamin D, within a multivitamin, as drops (usually for children) and a spray.
For more info see BBC News online
Share this post: