Vitamin D Inexpensive, Low Risk, and May Boost Immune Response to COVID-19: Experts

NEW DELHI, December 31:
There is no clinical evidence to prove that low levels of vitamin D lead to severe symptoms of COVID-19, but there is a clear link between the ‘sunshine vitamin’ and immune responses to disease, then experts say. as the pandemic spreads across the world and concerns increase over a new mutant strain.
Stressing that vitamin D is inexpensive and poses a negligible risk compared to the considerable risk of COVID-19, global researchers on the disease have called on governments to integrate it into their strategy against the novel coronavirus.
Many factors such as age, being male, and co-morbidities are known to predispose individuals to a higher risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2, but an inadequate vitamin D is by far the most important. most easily and quickly modifiable risk factor with abundant evidence to support great benefit. indeed, said Prof Afrozul Haq, former dean of the School of Interdisciplinary Sciences and Technology (SIST) at Jamia Hamdard University in New Delhi.
He is one of 170 experts who wrote an open letter on the subject earlier this month.
Calling for an immediate and widespread increase in vitamin D intake, the letter posted on the vitamindforall.Org website states that “research shows that low levels of vitamin D almost certainly promote infections, hospitalizations and deaths in the world. COVID-19 ”.
“This campaign group of vitamin D and COVID-19 researchers, including myself, began the process of writing this letter with the goal of educating everyone about the benefits of vitamin D supplementation at home. patients infected with COVID-19 and send this letter to everyone. ministries, health workers, government agencies and NGOs, ”Haq told PTI.
According to the letter, which had 171 signatories on Wednesday, evidence suggests the possibility that the COVID-19 pandemic will be sustained in large part thanks to the infection of people with low vitamin D and deaths are mostly concentrated in those deficient. . “The mere possibility that this is so should force the urgent gathering of more data on vitamin D. Even without more data, the preponderance of evidence indicates that increasing vitamin D would help reduce infections,” hospitalizations, ICU admissions and deaths, ”he said. As debate on the issue intensified, immunologist Vineeta Bal added a note of skepticism, noting that most experts are based in developed countries where daily vitamin D supplementation may be feasible, convenient, and affordable. “But this is not the case with India. Vitamin D deficiency is extremely common in India. Regular supplementation is not a standard recommendation, not even for pregnant women, ”said Bal, visiting professor at the Indian Institute of Education and Scientific Research in Pune. “If the individuals are severely deficient, supplementation as recommended in the letter will likely take weeks or months to reach desirable levels of vitamin D in serum,” she said.
The scientist added that this cannot be considered an emergency measure, when the country lacks manpower and facilities, even for the vaccination program.
In her opinion, vitamin D supplementation should be a long-term, non-urgent measure that could also be helpful in the COVID-19 scenario.
“Not only vitamin D, other vitamins and micronutrients like zinc have also shown beneficial effects,” she explained. (PTI)
According to Professor Srijit Mishra, another signatory of the letter, the recommendation is vitamin D intake for adults of up to 4,000 international units (IU) or 100 micrograms (mcg) per day. People at increased risk of deficiency due to being overweight, dark skinned, or living in nursing homes may need a higher intake.
“Current evidence suggests that serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels exceed 30 nanograms per milliliter (ng / ml), a test to measure vitamin D level is a widely approved minimum for reducing the risk of COVID-19,” Mishra , from Mumbai’s Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research (IGIDR), said.