Vitamin D: Sarah Jarvis discusses use in combatting COVID-19
The NHS is now supplying Vitamin D to vulnerable people as evidence links the supplement to having a positive effect on Covid-19 patients. Vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin, helps with immune function and is most commonly known for helping your hair grow.
A Vitamin D deficiency is not uncommon and is especially common in older adults, obese people, and those with darker skin tones, all of which can put you at higher risk from Covid-19.
In 2020, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has called for a review into whether the ‘sunshine vitamin’ can reduce the risk of dying from the coronavirus.
He said at the time: “A number of studies indicate Vitamin D might have a positive impact in protecting against COVID-19.”
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Does Vitamin D help with Covid?
Studies have found patients with a Vitamin D deficiency are more likely to test positive for the virus, and high enough levels of Vitamin D is associated with a less severe illness and better survival rate.
Many of these studies imply correlation and not causation, so further research is needed to see if the vitamin can help the fight against Covid-19.
An open letter was sent to Governments around the world by medical experts from the UK, USA and elsewhere in Europe warning that low Vitamin D levels markedly increase the likelihood of hospitalisations and deaths from Covid-19.
The letter now has 120 signatories, signed by doctors, professors and politicians who support their campaign.
This includes Dr Barbara J Boucher, Honorary Professor of Medicine at Queen Mary University of London, and British MPs David Davis and Rupa Huq.
Tory backbencher David Davis and Labour MP Rupa Huq have been leading the charge in raising awareness of the supposed effects of the vitamin on Covid-19 in the UK.
Mr Davis said: “All the observational studies show strong vitamin D effects on infectiousness, morbidity and mortality.
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“This disease exists seriously above 40 degrees latitude, because that’s where the UV light disappears in the winter.”
All of this evidence together, he said, makes it “very, very plain that vitamin D has a material effect”.
Ms Huq said: “I feel, rather disappointingly, the government has dragged its feet on this.
“But I am pleased that there has been movement, however late in the day, and hope the advent of coronavirus vaccines will not now blow them off course.”
How do I get free Vitamin D?
If you are considered to be clinically extremely vulnerable from Covid-19, you can get free Vitamin D from the NHS for four months.
You will be contacted by letter if you can get the supplements free of charge, or you can head to the NHS website.
You will only be contacted if you are listed as clinically vulnerable to the disease.
Express.co.uk has contacted the Department for Health for comment.
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