Spanish research shows vitamin D deficiency in some COVID-19 patients. Around this time of year when there is a certain whiff of autumn around and the clocks have changed people often ask me about the wisdom of taking supplements. My reply is usually the same; most of us don’t need them. If you have been told you have a particular deficiency that’s a different story, but for the rest of us with a good diet we generally get everything we need naturally.
One of the things I love about life is that we never stop learning, there is always something new to find out about and that’s just what has happened in the field of supplements. In fact, it’s happened right here in Spain. I’m sure we all know that vitamin D is necessary for healthy bones but it plays other key roles too. Normally we make enough naturally when we are exposed to sunlight, so here on the Costa del Sol we shouldn’t have any problems. But of course, things are far from normal right now, with many of thinking twice about whether to go out or not, others working from home, and the days drawing in there is a slim chance that we may not get enough vitamin D.
This has become more interesting because of that Spanish study, at the University of Cantabria in Santander. Now a lot more work needs to be done as the sample size was very small, but there is a suggestion that a low level of vitamin D might make you more susceptible to COVID-19 and respiratory diseases in general. What the research doesn’t point to however is that vitamin D could somehow prevent COVID-19, but it does make for very interesting reading, so much so that I would recommend a vitamin D supplement for anyone. It has a beneficial effect on our immune system, as well as our bones, and I am taking it myself, a 10mcg (400IU) dose once a day will do you no harm whatsoever and could certainly be very beneficial.
Whilst I am on about supplements, I’m talking about all those bottles and jars you see neatly arranged in health food shops – in fact they often look like well stocked pharmacies with some of the technical language to boot. I swear by Arnica for example for help with bruises but I refer to that as a natural remedy rather than a supplement. Most supplements are harmless although some are known to cause adverse effects with some modern drugs; St John’s Wort is an example, so always tell your GP what you are planning to take. Vitamin D doesn’t upset you or interfere with modern drugs, but don’t take more than 100mcg (4,000IU) as that could upset you.
Dr Marcus Stephan
My views are entirely personal and do not reflect the view or position of any organisation. You should always consult your own medical practitioner regarding any concerns that you may have.
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