Published: 22nd May 2020
Vitamin D reduces risk of dying from Covid-19: Doctors Association Kashmir
Dr Hassan said the best way to ensure that people have adequate levels of vitamin D is to take the vitamin supplements at currently recommended levels
Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Friday said that people with low levels of vitamin D are at increased risk of dying if they contract Covid-19 infection.
"If you have healthy levels of vitamin D, you are less likely to get the severe disease from the novel coronavirus. Having adequate levels of vitamin D reduces your risk of dying from Covid-19," DAK President Dr Nisar ul Hassan said.
Quoting a study published in Irish Medical Journal, Dr Hassan said countries like Spain and Italy, though sunny have high rates of vitamin D deficiency and have experienced some of the highest Covid-19 infection and death rates in the world.
"These countries do not fortify food or recommend supplementation with vitamin D and people avoid the sun," he said. He said conversely, countries like Norway, Finland and Sweden despite less sunlight exposure have higher vitamin D levels and have lower Covid-19 infection and deaths.
"The high levels of vitamin D found in these Nordic countries are due to consumption of cod liver oil and vitamin D supplements and possibly less sun avoidance," he said. Dr Hassan said vitamin D deficiency is widely prevalent in Kashmir valley because of less exposure to sunlight.
"Deficiency is more prevalent in elderly and in people with underlying medical conditions and they are the ones who are prone to complications and death from Covid-19," he added. The DAK president said the majority of COVID-deaths occur as a result of cytokine storm, a hyperinflammatory condition caused by an overactive immune system which severely damages the lungs and leads to acute respiratory distress syndrome and death. "Not only does vitamin D enhances our innate immune system, but it also prevents our immune system from becoming dangerously overactive," he said.
Dr Hassan said the best way to ensure that people have adequate levels of vitamin D is to take the vitamin supplements at currently recommended levels. "The recommended daily vitamin D supplement intake is 400-800 International Units or 10-20 micrograms, but during this COVID crisis a supplement containing 1000-2000 IU daily would be reasonable," he said. "Vitamin D can also be obtained from eating foods such as fish, egg yolk, mushrooms and cheese," he added.