This Morning: Dr Chris discusses vitamin D and Covid
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As it cannot produce the required amount from the sun, supplements are recommended for consumption between the months of September and April.
This means there isn’t long to go until those supplements can be put back into the nation’s cupboards until Autumn rolls around.
While vitamin D supplements are useful, not all are equal.
There is more than one type of vitamin D and a study conducted by the University of Brighton and the University of Sussex decided to find out which was most effective, vitamin D2 or D3.
The results, published in the journal, Frontiers in Immunology showed that vitamin D3 was more effective than vitamin D2 at protecting the immune system.
Why D3 is more capable than D2 is down to how the vitamin activates the immune system.
Professor Colin Smith explained further: “We have shown that vitamin D3 appears to stimulate the type 1 interferon signalling system in the body – a key part of the immune system that provides a first line of defence against bacteria and viruses”.
As a result, the professor suggested that individuals should, if they so desire, opt for a vitamin D3 rather than a vitamin D2 supplement.
Although the benefits of vitamin D have been known for years, the pandemic brought them into sharper focus.
During the early stages of the global health crisis, rumours swirled around whether consumption of vitamin D could decrease a person’s risk of becoming infected with COVID-19.
While some reports have suggested that it could be of some benefit for the immune system, there is currently a lack of strong evidence to suggest it can be used to combat the disease.
Nevertheless, it is still recommended for use during the winter months.
Supplements are not the only way for an individual to increase their intake of vitamin D, the diet is an excellent avenue for vitamin supplementation.
Sources of vitamin D include fish such as salmon, sardines, herring, and mackerel, red meat, liver, egg yolks, and fortified foods.
How much vitamin D an individual requires will depend on their age and gender.
For example, children over the age of one require about “10 micrograms of vitamin D a day” said the NHS.
Meanwhile adults should not exceed 100micograms, or 4000IU, per day.
Overdosing on vitamin D, not possible from sunlight, can result in weaker bones.
Furthermore, some individuals may have health conditions that mean how much they can consume is limited.
For more information on vitamin D contact the NHS or consult with your GP.
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