08 Apr 2020

Vitamin D can boost resistance to respiratory infection, including coronavirus – Irish researchers

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Vitamin D is present in a number of foods, including fish and eggs

Vitamin D can play a critical role in the fight against COVID-19, boosting a person’s resistance to respiratory infections, researchers in Trinity College Dublin revealed.

Vitamin D is produced in the skin by exposing the body to just 10-15 minutes per day of sun.  However, as we increasingly spend more time indoors, we can become deficient in this most important immune support vitamin. Other people who fall into the high-risk category are those who are obese or physically inactive, and those that have asthma or chronic lung disease.

The deficiency can be remedied by adequate intake of foods and by supplementation. Vitamin D is readily found in foods like eggs, liver and oily fish – such as salmon or mackerel – as well as fortified foods such as cereals and dairy products.

TILDA researchers recommend that adults over 50 should take supplements – not just in winter, but all year round if they don’t get enough sun. Those who are ‘cocooning’ at present should also take supplements.

Professor Rose Anne Kenny, Principal Investigator of TILDA, said:

‘’We have evidence to support a role for Vitamin D in the prevention of chest infections, particularly in older adults who have low levels. In one study Vitamin D reduced the risk of chest infections to half in people who took supplements.

“Though we do not know specifically of the role of Vitamin D in COVID infections, given its wider implications for improving immune responses and clear evidence for bone and muscle health, those cocooning and other at-risk cohorts should ensure they have an adequate intake of Vitamin D.”

 

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