Coronavirus UK: The natural supplement shown to lessen the impact of the virus
The UK is currently in the throes of a second wave of coronavirus, with a total of 41,988 deaths officially recorded. While the statistics paint a harrowing picture, advances have been made in lessening the impact of the pathogen.
New research that ties vitamin D intake to a reduced risk of COVID-19 complications offers further succour.
The study, conducted in the US, has found that patients with sufficient levels of vitamin D are less vulnerable to serious complications that could prove fatal.
What’s more, another study has found the sunshine vitamin also reduces infection rates.
Vitamin D is branded the ‘sunshine vitamin’ because your body naturally absorbs it from exposure to the sun in the summer months.
It has been shown to provide a host of health benefits, including regulating the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body.
So, how does it help against COVID-19?
Research from Boston University’s school of medicine found that sufficient vitamin D levels were linked with a significantly decreased level of inflammatory markers, and higher blood levels of immune cells.
Significantly, the higher levels of lymphocytes were tied to the reduction in cytokine storms.
A cytokine storm is an overreaction of the body’s immune system – it can trigger fatal complications.
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To gather their findings, researchers took blood samples to measure vitamin D levels from 235 patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19.
These patients were followed for clinical outcomes including the severity of their infections, whether they lost consciousness, if they had difficulty breathing to the point of becoming hypoxic, or if they died.
In patients older than 40, those who had sufficient levels of vitamin D were more than 51 percent less likely to die than patients who were deficient.
According to Dr Michael Holick, who recently published another study finding that sufficient vitamin D can reduce the risk of catching the coronavirus by 54 percent, the vitamin can also help against other viruses affecting the upper respiratory tract.
“There is great concern that the combination of an influenza infection and a coronal viral infection could substantially increase hospitalisations and death due to complications from these viral infections,” Dr Holick said.
He added: “Because vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency is so widespread in children and adults in the US and worldwide, especially in the winter months, it is prudent for everyone to take a vitamin D supplement to reduce risk of being infected and having complications from COVID-19.”
COVID-19 – what are the main symptoms?
According to the NHS, the main symptoms of coronavirus are:
- A high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
- A new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
- A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal.
“If you have any of the main symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), get a test as soon as possible,” advises the health body.
You should also stay at home until you get the result, the health body says.
Anyone you live with, and anyone in your support bubble, must also stay at home until you get your result.
A support bubble is where someone who lives alone (or just with their children) can meet people from one other household.
Can I alleviate symptoms while self-isolating?
There is currently no specific treatment for coronavirus (COVID-19), but you can often ease the symptoms at home until you recover.
According to the NHS, you should get lots of rest and drink plenty of fluids if you have a high temperature.
“If you have a cough, it’s best to avoid lying on your back. Lie on your side or sit upright instead,” advises the health body.
It add: “If this does not help, you could contact a pharmacist for advice about cough treatments.”
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