Vitamin D can help reduce the impact of Covid

Dan Ahern

Growing International evidence that Vitamin D can help reduce the impact of Covid 19. Irish people have traditionally low levels of Vitamin D.

A group of politicians has said that Irish people should take daily Vitamin D supplements due to growing international evidence that it may help to prevent Covid-19 outbreaks.

The recommendation is contained in a new report, which also says anyone attending Covid-19 test centres should be given Vitamin D and that an "opt out" system for the supplement should be created in nursing homes and among health workers to encourage uptake.

The 28-page report, published on 7 April 2021, was drawn-up by the cross-party Oireachtas Committee on Health in recent weeks as part of its ongoing review of the Covid-19 situation in Ireland.

It is based on the views of the Covit-D Consortium of doctors from Trinity College, St James's Hospital, the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, and Connolly Hospital Blanchardstown, who met the committee on 23 February.

The report says while Vitamin D is in no way a cure for Covid-19, there is increasing international evidence from Finland, France and Spain that high levels of the vitamin in people can help reduce the impact of Covid-19 infections and other illnesses.

As such, it says the Irish population, which has an historically low level of Vitamin D, should be encouraged to take supplements to improve health and provide an extra protection from the pandemic.

According to the report:

  • Vitamin D supplements should be taken on a daily basis as part of a wider "public health measure" to help prevent Covid-19 outbreaks and other diseases.
  • "Specific" extra measures should be drawn up to help vulnerable at-risk groups, including an "opt out" system for people in nursing homes, prisons and health care workers.
  • Anyone attending Covid-19 test centres should be offered a Vitamin D supplement along with their test.
  • The Government should fund a new Vitamin D awareness campaign similar to the folic acid for pregnant women campaign in the early 1990s as part of Budget 2022.
  • Consideration should be given to reducing or removing the existing VAT rate on Vitamin D supplements to encourage more people to take the medication.

The report specifically mentions low Vitamin D levels in Ireland, saying half of 18 to 39-year-olds, one-third of 50 to 59-year-olds and two-thirds of people over the age of 80 are deficient.

It compares the situation to Finland among other countries, saying the Nordic nation has some of the highest Vitamin D levels in Europe and has the lowest Covid-19 mortality rate per head of population in the EU. 

Read full RTE News report Here