A late review from England Public Health on why BAME people are disproportionately affected, which indicates historical racism, would not yet have examined the role of diet and vitamin D.
The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) was instructed to do this work last month and to review recent evidence on vitamin D and acute respiratory infections in the general population.
At the same time, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) is carrying out a “rapid” review of the evidence on vitamin D “in the context of Covid-19” with the support of Public Health England. It is understood that the reviews will be published in the coming weeks.
The boards of Public Health Scotland and the NHS are also evaluating emerging evidence to see if the so-called solar nutrient should be prescribed in hospitals and high-risk groups to alleviate a second wave of Covid-19.
Adrian Martineau, professor of respiratory infection and immunity at Queen Mary University in London, welcomed the criticism and said the deaths among BAME NHS staff have highlighted the issue of vitamin D deficiency.
“Vitamin D could almost be seen as a synthetic drug to help the body manage viral respiratory infections,” he said. “It enhances the ability of cells to kill and resist viruses and at the same time reduce harmful inflammation, which is one of Covid’s big problems.”
He is leading a national study that collects information on the risk factors for Covid-19 with a focus on vitamin D deficiency to address the lack of research in this area. Any UK resident over the age of 16 is eligible to participate.
“There are no clinical trials of vitamin D to prevent Covid from continuing anywhere in the world to my knowledge and the clinical evidence of its use to reduce the risk of acute respiratory infections is mixed. ”
However, studies have suggested that vitamin D supplementation is safe and protects against acute respiratory infections. Higher levels of melanin in the skin lead to lower levels of vitamin D absorption which are exacerbated in colder countries with less sun. This can weaken the immune system.
NHS England acknowledged that vitamin D potentially lowers the risk of coronavirus, but said there is currently insufficient evidence to support it.
He advises people to consider taking 10 micrograms of vitamin D a day to maintain healthy bones and muscles, as they may not get enough sun if they are indoors most of the day. There is increased concern about the lack of sun exposure during the lockout.
UK vitamin D advice focuses on musculoskeletal health issues such as rickets and there is concern that its effect on the general immune system has been overlooked. On June 3, the Scottish government specifically recommended that people from dark-skinned minority ethnic groups take the supplement.