‘Vitamin D helps prevent respiratory infections’ – Times of India

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AHMEDABAD: It can be got from the most abundant source possible in a country like India – sunlight – but studies have shown very high levels of vitamin D deficiency in the Indian population. The role of vitamin D has come to the fore due to the Covid-19 pandemic, as experts point to the vitamin’s protective and curative roles.

Dr Ritu Rana, assistant professor at the Indian Institute of Public Health, Gandhinagar (IIPH-G), said the vitamin is important for regulation of calcium and phosphate in the body and also the regulation of the immune system.
“Studies before Covid-19 have shown the positive impact of vitamin D in respiratory tract infections, its intake reduces the severity and can also help in treatment,” she said, adding that a limited study in Spain on Covid-19 patients has shown a positive impact of the vitamin even as the body of evidence globally is still emerging.
Experts said the intake of fortified food, ranging from milk to oil, can help supplement the daily requirement.
Dr Minesh Mehta, a citybased critical care specialist, said the observation of Covid-19 patients in the city has shown greater severity if there is a deficiency of vitamins and minerals including vitamin D.
“Supplements are an integral part of treatment. Vitamin D also can play a preventive role,” he said.
The diet at Covid-19 hospitals also emphasizes balanced nutrition that is rich in vitamins D and C and zinc. Binal Jethva, a dietician at the 1,200-bed Covid-19 facility at Civil Hospital, said vitamin D and C deficiency is very common among Covid-19 patients under treatment. “Those getting discharged are also advised to take supplements and improve their intake of vitamins and minerals,” she said.
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