The pandemic has seen many of us spend more time indoors, meaning less time in the sun and potentially less of the sunshine vitamin - vitamin D. A new article by NPS MedicineWise says that while vitamin D is important for health, there is no evidence that vitamin D supplements can protect against COVID-19.
NPS MedicineWise medical adviser and GP Dr Anna Samecki says vitamin D is an essential vitamin that helps keep our bones, muscles and teeth healthy and strong, and there is also some evidence that it may play a role in the way the body fights disease.
“While having enough vitamin D is important for your health, there is no clinical evidence that taking supplements (including vitamin D) can prevent COVID-19,” says Dr Samecki.
“The best way to avoid infection with coronavirus is to regularly wash your hands with soap and water, maintain physical distancing and wear a mask when physical distancing is difficult.
“If you do not have a reason to believe that you might be vitamin D-deficient, supplements will not improve your health. People at risk of vitamin D deficiency include those who tend to spend long hours indoors, who wear clothes that cover most of their skin when outdoors or who have naturally dark skin.
“For most people, the best way to get vitamin D is to spend time in the sun. It only takes about 10 to 20 minutes out in the sun with some skin exposed to the sun to get your daily dose. This is best done in the mid-morning or afternoon when the sun is not at its peak. It is still important to protect yourself from potentially damaging UV rays, especially during the middle of the day and when the UV index is high.
“If you think you may be deficient in vitamin D, talk to your doctor who may arrange a blood test to check your levels,” she says.
Understanding your medicines is the best way to get the most out of your medicines, safely. For more information on being medicinewise, go to nps.org.au/bemedicinewise.
For more information on medicines and COVID-19, go to nps.org.au/coronavirus.
If you have questions about your medicines, you can call Medicines Line on 1300 MEDICINE (1300 633 424) for the cost of a local call (calls from mobiles may cost more). Hours of operation are Monday–Friday 9 am–5 pm AET (excluding public holidays).
Non-english speaking consumers can call Translating and Interpreting Services National on 131 450 and ask to be connected to Medicines Line (1300 633 424). An interpreter can assist with translating information.