By David C Gaze in The Conversation.
It has been suggested that taking vitamin D may protect people from getting COVID-19. But should we be using supplements to ward off the virus? We need to separate fact from fiction.
Vitamin D is essential for maintaining overall health, especially for bones, teeth and muscle. It regulates the body’s stores of calcium and phosphate and helps us maintain a healthy immune system. While we can get vitamin D from oily fish, egg yolks, red meat and supplemented foods in our diet, the vast majority of vitamin D in the body is produced in the skin due to sunlight exposure.
Vitamin D concentrations are lower in people with obesity, those with high blood pressure or diabetes and in those who smoke. It can be stored in fat cells, thus reducing the circulating concentration in the blood. Poor diet in those with heart disease and a sedentary lifestyle away from sunlight contribute to lower blood concentrations of the vitamin, while smoking affects vitamin D and calcium regulation.
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