Doctors Association Kashmir said Friday that healthy levels of vitamin D in body help in reducing risk of dying from the novel coronavirus.
“Having adequate levels of vitamin D reduces your risk of dying from Covid-19,” said DAK President Dr Nisar ul Hassan.
Quoting a study published in Irish Medical Journal, Dr Nisar said countries like Spain and Italy, though sunny have high rates of vitamin D deficiency and have experienced some of the highest Covid-19 infection and death rates in the world.
“These countries do not fortify food or recommend supplementation with vitamin D and people avoid sun,” he said.
“Conversely, countries like Norway, Finland and Sweden despite less sunlight exposure have higher vitamin D levels and have lower Covid-19 infection and deaths,” Dr Nisar said.
Dr Nisar said vitamin D deficiency is widely prevalent in Kashmir valley because of less exposure to sunlight.
Dr Nisar said majority of Covid-deaths occur as a result of cytokine storm, a hyperinflammatory condition caused by an overactive immune system which severely damages the lungs and leads to acute respiratory distress syndrome and death.
“Not only does vitamin D enhances our innate immune system, it also prevents our immune system from becoming dangerously overactive,” he said.
Dr Nisar said the best way to ensure that people have adequate levels of vitamin D is to take the vitamin supplements at currently recommended levels.
“The recommended daily vitamin D supplement intake is 400-800 International Units or 10-20 micrograms, but during this Covid crisis a supplement containing 1000-2000 IU daily would be reasonable,” he said.
“Vitamin D can also be obtained from eating foods such as fish, egg-yolk, mushrooms and cheese,” said Dr Nisar.