With evidence mounting regarding vitamin D’s potential impacts on COVID-19 occurence and severity, two Harvard-affiliated doctors and researchers penned a recent letter urging health care providers and the public to take measures — including more sun exposure — to eliminate vitamin D deficiency.
“Considered as a whole, the accumulating evidence is becoming increasingly compelling,” wrote Harvard epidemiologist and professor JoAnn E. Manson and Shari S. Bassuk, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School.
After analyzing some of the research and statistics on vitamin D’s effects on COVID-19 and how common vitamin D deficiency is, especially in non-white racial/ethnic groups, the doctors recommended increasing levels with sun exposure, and through diet and supplementation in lieu of adequate exposure.
“Clinicians and public health authorities should encourage patients and the general public to spend time outdoors and be physically active, while adhering to evolving social distancing guidelines. The skin can synthesize enough vitamin D to avert deficiency with as little as 15 minutes per day of sun exposure,” they wrote.
In conclusion, the pair suggested that while more research is needed to confirm just how and how much vitamin D can prevent and reduce severity of COVID-19, there is certainly ample evidence to take action now — also clarifying that enhanced vitamin D levels will improve public health after the pandemic as well.
“Vitamin D is essential for health. Although additional research on its contribution to attenuating COVID-19 risk and severity is in progress, eliminating vitamin D deficiency will improve public health during the current pandemic and after the threat subsides.”
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