‘Sunshine’ Vitamin D may be Covid shield, curb severity

4 weeks ago 11

MUMBAI: There is growing evidence that Vitamin D could help in the fight against Covid-19. Local doctors — and studies from other countries — say adequate levels of the Sunshine Vitamin, as it is called, could protect one against Covid or reduce its severity among infected patients.
A study published in PLOS ONE medical journal by Boston University School of Medicine showed Covid-19 patients with 25-hydroxyvitamin D level of 30 ng/mL (nanogram per millilitre) in blood had a lower risk of low oxygen called hypoxia, or death. These patients also had lower inflammation levels and higher lymphocytes (a type of immune cell to fight infection).
Dr Shashank Joshi, a member of the state task force on Covid-19, said most studies in the Covid field are in the research mode. “However, there is indeed evidence from many European studies that Vitamin D helps Covid-19 patients,” he said.
Vitamin D is advised for patients with various conditions, ranging from arthritis to tuberculosis. “There is already proof that Vitamin D helps reduce the severity of respiratory infections, including pneumonia,” said Dr Joshi. He, though, said before announcing that Vitamin D helps against Covid-19, there is a need for randomized and prospective studies to prove the assumption. “At present, most studies are retrospective studies done among patients admitted in hospitals,” he added.
The Boston study looked at 235 patients admitted for care. In patients older than 40 years, doctors found those with sufficient Vitamin D levels were 51.5% less likely to die than those who were deficient with a blood level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D of less than 30 ng/mL.

“This study provides direct evidence that Vitamin D sufficiency can reduce the complications, including the cytokine storm (release of too many proteins into the blood too quickly) and ultimately death from Covid-19,” said the study’s main author Michael F Holick in a press release. Recently, Dr Anthony Fauci, head of US’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said, “If you are deficient in Vitamin D, that does have an impact on your susceptibility to infection.” He said he takes Vitamin D supplements.
The state’s treatment protocol includes Vitamin C and zinc supplements for Covid patients. Many doctors in the private sector prescribe megadose of Vitamin D for hospitalized patients as well.

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