When the biology of a new disease is still being researched and vaccines or treatments sought, it is sensible to ensure we all have adequate levels of vital vitamins and minerals to optimise our physical health.
During a time of heightened risk for the health of the general public, it is viewed by many medical professionals as sound advice to take supplements in the recommended doses to safeguard health and well-being in those who may be immunologically vulnerable or nutritionally deficient.
Since the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic (in December 2019), nutritionists have welcomed the proven benefits of vitamins and minerals, such as Vitamin D, Vitamin C and zinc. Although nutrition doesn’t currently form part of mainstream treatment regimes, it is common sense to give your body and immune system the necessary building blocks to function correctly.
Where a poor diet or lack of sunlight has caused deficiencies, supplements are often recommended, especially in the case of those who may be nutritionally depleted, or those vulnerable to viral infection, including those with hepatitis or HIV. In particular, recent studies have indicated that vitamin D3 has a connection with the activity of immune cells. The cells which produce antibodies to flag a new infection would still function in a low vitamin D3 environment but the cells which actually attack the disease would first assess the level of vitamin D3 before taking action.
So, what are the benefits of vitamins and minerals?
In basic terms, the antioxidant Vitamin C has for a long while established itself scientifically as a key player in supporting a healthy immune function.
Zinc has been scientifically proven to have a demonstrably positive effect on antiviral activity, whether by stimulating antiviral immunity or by diminishing the ability of a virus to multiply. Some evidence suggests, for instance, that a combination of vitamin C and zinc may shorten the duration of a cold virus and reduce the severity of symptoms – something that would obviously benefit the majority.
And then there is vitamin D, essential for healthy bones, musculoskeletal health, and reported to have some therapeutic effects upon respiratory illness, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effects. One study, conducted on over 14,000 adults over a 13 year period demonstrated a reduction in death from respiratory disease or respiratory infections by 72% in those with high levels of vitamin D3.
Covid-19’s effect on vitamin production / intake
One of the global societal effects of pandemic lockdowns or Covid isolation has been the necessity for people to spend much of their time indoors. This resulted in restriction of movement and less exposure to sunlight which is the principal source of vitamin D. The two forms of this vitamin – vitamin D2 (also known as ergocalciferol or pre-vitamin D) and Vitamin D3 (known as cholecalciferol) are produced through exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet-B rays and earns vitamin D the nickname ‘the sunshine vitamin’. In addition, many people shop less frequently to avoid unnecessary contact with others and therefore have reduced the amount of fresh produce, thereby lowering their overall intake of vitamins.
Anyone can receive vitamin D3 supplements
As sources of Vitamin D in food are fairly limited (largely oily fish such as salmon, tuna or herring, red meat, egg yolks and fortified foods such as cereal), supplements of the two forms of vitamin D (D2 and D3) are readily available to buy online or over the counter.
With research suggesting that vitamin D3 has benefits relating to immunocompetence, it has been one of the nutrients earmarked by scientists for further medical research as a potential aid for both innate and adaptive immunity (of which the all-important T cells and antibodies are a part) in the battle against COVID-19 infection.
If you are considering a D3 supplement (the form of most recent interest in terms of strengthening your immune system and replenishing the nutrient lost through lack of sunlight during this Covid-19 pandemic) you may wish to purchase tablet form or else the spray/drop form which is a liquid.
The liquid form is absorbed most quickly cross-membrane and straight into the blood stream, being administered as drops under the tongue, or a spray under the tongue or on the inner cheek which makes it easy to administer to younger children too.
Is vitamin D3 the solution?
Whilst not indicated as a medical treatment or cure at this point, many research articles suggest that there is a possibility that maintaining regular low doses of D3 may be of benefit in the fight against Covid-19.
As long as people do not exceed the safe, recommended dosage, it may be at minimum a valuable tool in maintaining optimal health during this pandemic, along with the suggested precautions of vaccination, social distancing, mask-wearing, and hand hygiene.
Regular Coronavirus lateral flow tests or PCR testing are also a useful and necessary tool in reducing the spread of disease. MHE offer lateral flow tests for both personal use and travel testing. Contact us for details or browse available products below:
Certificated Lateral Flow Antigen Travel Test (Day 2 / Fit To Fly)£23.95
PCR Testing – Day 2 and 8 Travel Package£192.00
PCR Test To Release (TTR) Sample Collection Pack (Includes Analysis and Certificate)£96.00
Coronavirus Antibody Test Kits (IgM and IgG Antibodies)£214.80 – £2,148.00
Government Approved Coronavirus Antigen Test Kits (Lateral Flow Nasal Swab Tests)£142.80 – £1,428.00
PCR Test Sample Collection Pack (Includes Analysis)£96.00