8 Must-Know Tips About Vitamin D
Evidence for a link between low vitamin D status and increased severity of Covid-19 infection continues to grow.
In addition to our own observations of a striking association between vitamin D deficiency and both hospital and ICU admissions for Covid-19, studies from Spain, France, Italy and the UK have now demonstrated significantly lower ICU admission and death rates in Covid-19 patients supplemented with vitamin D.
The evidence has provoked the UK government to provide vitamin D supplementation to nearly three million older and other vulnerable citizens.
As part of the Covid-D consortium of Irish academics, clinicians and researchers, we are advocating the use of vitamin D in the fight against Covid and for more general health benefits.
Vitamin D supplementation is promoted in Ireland in order to improve skeletal health by preventing osteoporosis, rickets and osteomalacia. Roughly half of the adult population continue to have low blood vitamin D levels.
Vitamin D deficiency is even more prevalent among older people, those with darker skin, and those who are overweight or obese. These are the constituencies who have suffered the worst clinical outcomes, including death, over the course of this pandemic.
As we await vaccine protection, vitamin D is cheap, safe and readily available. If given in the right doses, it may be effective in mitigating the worst effects of this disease in Ireland.
International research is ongoing, but the association between low vitamin D levels and development of severe Covid-19 infection is now established. It is therefore crucial that people optimise their vitamin D levels in advance of acquiring this virus.
In the context of ongoing significant pressure on our acute hospital system, and on ICU capacity in particular, is it not time that our public health authorities act immediately to ensure vitamin D supplementation be included along with mask wearing, social distancing, cough etiquette, hand-washing and vaccination as a central part of our national response?
Dr Daniel M McCartney, TU Dublin
Dr Paula M O’Shea, NUI Galway and Galway University Hospitals
Prof John L Faul, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and Connolly Hospital Blanchardstown
Dr Martin J Healy, St James’s Hospital
Dr Greg Byrne, TU Dublin
Dr Tomás P Griffin, NUI Galway and Galway University Hospitals
Prof James Bernard Walsh, TCD and St James’s Hospital
Prof Cathal Walsh, UL
Prof Declan G Byrne, TCD and St James’s Hospital
Prof Rose Anne Kenny, TCD and St James’s Hospital
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