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 Is sunlight the key to reducing Coronavirus risk?

Is sunlight the key to reducing Coronavirus risk?

Friday 19 June 2020

Public health agencies across the UK are urgently conducting reviews into the potential for vitamin D to reduce the risk of coronavirus.

Vitamin D is created by the body when direct sunlight comes into contact with the skin. Intake of the vitamin can also be supplemented by a diet rich in oily fish, red meat, and fortified foods.

The NHS now recommends taking ten micrograms of vitamin D a day to keep your bones and muscles healthy, due to the risk of not getting enough sunlight from being indoors for most of the day. They are keen to point out, however, that there is not enough existing evidence that the vitamin reduces the risk of the virus.

Adrian Martineau, professor of respiratory infection at Queen Mary University of London, is leading a national study with a focus on vitamin D deficiency to identify coronavirus risk factors. There are a few existing observational studies which link low vitamin D status to adverse coronavirus outcomes, but the conclusions to be drawn from those are limited.

“There are no clinical trials of vitamin D to prevent COVID ongoing anywhere in the world to my knowledge and clinical evidence for its use to reduce risk of acute respiratory infections is mixed,” Martineau said.

He added that he welcomes the clinical reviews that had brought the potential for vitamin D deficiency to assist with reducing coronavirus risk factors to the fore.

“Vitamin D could almost be thought of as a designer drug for helping the body to handle viral respiratory infections,” he said. “It boosts the ability of cells to kill and resist viruses and simultaneously dampens down harmful inflammation, which is one of the big problems with COVID.”

While studies linking the vitamin and coronavirus are few and far between, other studies have investigated other respiratory viruses and found that metabolites formed by vitamin D do in fact create certain antiviral immune responses.

“This combination of actions makes vitamin D an interesting candidate both as a potential tool in COVID-19 prevention and as an adjunct to other therapies for people who already have the disease,” said Martineau.

Note: The Serious Readers Light & Sight blog provides a carefully curated selection of the latest light and sight news. If you require further information on this topic, please visit the article sources linked below.


  1. NHS.
  3. The Guardian.


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