Researchers call for regulations and nutritional guidelines for vitamin D, amidst the wide-use of supplements  |  Photo Credit: iStock Images
- Vitamin D is an essential nutrient required for various functions in the body
- The nutrient has also been studied for prevention and treatment of COVID-19
- Researchers have now asked for proper nutritional guidelines with respect to vitamin D, given the challenges being faced by care givers
New Delhi: As the country, and the world at large battles the COVID-19 disease, researchers and medical experts work relentlessly to find a safe and effective vaccine that can prevent the disease caused by COVID-19, and at the same time, an effective, specific cure that can help in the treatment of patients infected with the disease. With no existing cure or vaccine, researchers and experts have touted prevention against the disease as the best bet for the general public. Social distancing, wearing masks, proper hand and respiratory hygiene has been reiterated as the key measures against the spread of COVID-19.
Various researchers have also found that while a healthy diet and boosted immunity can play a major role in preventing COVID-19 infection, or severe symptoms due to the disease, some nutrients, namely vitamin D may have a big role to play in the severity of the disease. According to reports, not only can vitamin D play a major role in boosting the immunity of the body against pathogens generally, vitamin D deficiency can in fact raise the risk of COVID-19. Researchers in the UK, are now, therefore, conducting clinical trials to check the effects of vitamin D on COVID-19 risk and treatment.
Researchers call for nutritional guidelines, regulations for Vitamin D
A new study has found that the perception of vitamin D as a medicine, and not as a nutrient required by the body is having an impact on elderly care in England. The study, published in the journal BMJ Nutrition Prevention and Health found that at a time when the risk for elderly home care residents is maximum due to COVID-19, it is important to urgently review nutritional guidelines and regulations on the use of vitamin D.
Since the vitamin is often used in the context of medicine, it has become a barrier for caregivers. Proper guidelines and review of existing ones can help patients understand how vitamin D is both a protective nutrient, as well as a medicine.
Importance of vitamin D and the need for supplements
Vitamin D is one of the key essential nutrients required by the body. It plays a major role in bone and teeth development and has recently become popular for its immunity-boosting properties against infections such as COVID-19.
One of the main sources of vitamin D is sunlight. However, due to long, winter months, especially in the northern hemisphere, people do not receive enough sunlight in the latter part of the year. Since vitamin D food sources are minimum, it may become important to supplement your diet with the nutrient’s dietary supplements.
Vitamin D deficiencies are not uncommon. People who stay indoors most of the time, such as young children and the elderly, those who have darker skin, or those who cover up their skin when they step out, are all at a high risk of vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D supplements, taken in consultation with a medical professional, may really be one’s best bet to ensure that the body gets enough of the nutrient. However, the way the nutrient is viewed can cloud people’s judgement, and not only increase their risk of diseases and infections but also act as a barrier for caregivers.