An abundance of international science links widespread vitamin D deficiency to impaired immune defense, a problem that has contributed to new COVID-19 waves and tends to make the infections life-threatening. The British government has therefore decided to give free vitamin D supplements to 2.2 million seniors, nursing home residents, chronically ill, and other vulnerable people to help combat COVID-19. The whole purpose of this is to slow down the epidemic and put an end to the numerous shutdowns of society, according to an article in the Daily Mail.
The sun during the summer period is our main source of vitamin D. The vitamin that we produce in our skin is stored in the liver for later use. The problem is that we tend to spend far too much time indoors plus we overuse sun cream with factor that blocks the skin’s vitamin D synthesis. As a result, our limited stores of the nutrient are consumed far too fast during the winter period. This increases our risk of infections and new COVID-19 waves. Older people, overweight individuals, chronically ill, nursing home residents, and dark-skinned people also have difficulty with synthesizing and utilizing vitamin D and are therefore considered an exposed group.
Widespread vitamin D deficiencies have resulted in swift action
A recent Spanish study revealed that 80 percent of hospitalized COVID-19 patients lacked vitamin D. Similarly, an analysis from Ben Gurion University in Israel revealed a strong correlation between low vitamin D status and COVID-19 infections. Furthermore, COVID-19 patients who lack vitamin D are twice as likely to get life-threatening complications in the wake of a COVID-19 infection. This was seen with a study from Northwestern University in the United States where scientists collected data from 10 different countries.
Studies generally suggest that being vitamin D-deficient increases the risk of being infected with COVID-19 and that the infection become that complicated, it requires hospitalization and intensive care in worst case. Needless to say, this has enormous repercussions for public health and the economy.
The British government has therefore decided to supply free vitamin D supplements to 2.2 million nursing home residents and other vulnerable groups such as cancer patients on chemotherapy, patients with severe asthma, cystic fibrosis, and other chronic illnesses. The first packages will be delivered directly to the doorstep of the recipients in the beginning of December and continued supplies will be handed out in the following four months. A bonus effect of taking vitamin D is that the nutrient helps maintain healthy bones and muscles.
This is a relatively inexpensive type of intervention with a large potential for public health and the economy. While these vulnerable groups receive vitamin D supplements, a number of clinical studies of vitamin D and COVID-19 will be initiated.
The aim is to stop the epidemic and avoid constant shutdowns of society
The groundbreaking initiative surfaced after Matthew Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care in Great Britain, became aware of the many advantages of doling out free vitamin D supplements to exposed groups to make sure that they get enough of the sunshine nutrient during the four winter months. Matthew Hancock and the other ministers in the British government hope that increased vitamin D intake combined with better treatments and sustainable vaccines will eventually put an end to the countless shutdowns of society.
According to Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, the government plans to look closer at the positive effects of vitamin D and will provide an update on this.
For the record, the Scottish government decided in October 2020 to give free vitamin D supplements to exposed groups. The Scottish health authorities have been aware of vitamin D’s health benefits for a long time. Back in 2016, they issued a blanket recommendation for vitamin D for the entire population.
Facts about vitamin D deficiency and optimal blood levels of the nutrient
Glenn Owen. Elderly and vulnerable will get free Vitamin D from government. Daily Mail. November 2020
José L Hernandez et al. Vitamin D Status in Hospitalized Patients with SARS-CoV2- Infection. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. 27 October 2020
Northwestern University. Vitamin D levels appear to play role in COVID-19 mortality rates. Science Daily. May 2020
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