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29 April 2020, 15:25
Just 10 minutes of sun each day can reduce the risks of symptomatic coronavirus, according to a health expert.
An Australian doctor has explained that stepping into the sunshine for just 10 minutes a day can reduce the risk of contracting symptomatic coronavirus.
Skin cancer researcher Dr Rachel Neale told The Australian having low levels of vitamin D, which is produced by the skin when exposed to sunlight, could make people more vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19.
Although vitamin D will not prevent you from catching coronavirus, doctors are recommending people get a daily dose to boost the immune system.
Dr Neale explained: “Now, more than ever, is not the time to be vitamin D deficient.”
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Vitamin D has a huge effect on the immune system, the doctor added: “It would make sense that being vitamin D deficient would increase the risk of having symptomatic COVID-19 and potentially having worse symptoms. And that's because vitamin D seems to have important effects on the immune system.”
Dr Neale has previously found that vitamin D supplementation reduces the risk of respiratory infections, which is what coronavirus patients are now dying from.
According to her team’s study of 78,000 patients, people with low levels of vitamin D are nearly twice as likely to develop acute respiratory infections than those with high levels.
Additionally, those with vitamin D deficiencies are likely to be sicker for a longer period.
She recommends people sit in the sun for 10 to 15 minutes to get their daily dose of vitamin D.
Although Dr Neale doesn’t take vitamin D supplements herself as she believes the sunshine is more beneficial, she accepts they’re useful for those unable to leave their home during lockdown.
However, the NHS website explains there isn’t yet any evidence to prove vitamin D reduces the risk of catching coronavirus.
They warn: “Consider taking 10 micrograms of vitamin D a day to keep your bones and muscles healthy. This is because you may not be getting enough vitamin D from sunlight if you’re indoors most of the day.
“There have been some news reports about vitamin D reducing the risk of coronavirus. However, there is no evidence that this is the case. Do not buy more vitamin D than you need.”
Dr Chris, This Morning's resident doctor recently told viewers: "Vitamin D deficiency is common - we recommend that those at risk of coronavirus urgently supplement with Vitamin D to enhance their resistance to Covid-19."