This Morning: Dr Chris discusses vitamin D and Covid
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Coughs and colds are on the rise as the winter months approach. However in tandem with Covid what may have usually been a minor symptom could be concerning. A persistent cough is one of the main symptoms of coronavirus, according to the NHS. Yet, according to experts, a recurring cough could also be a symptom of a common winter deficiency.
Of course, if you do have a persistent cough it is important to make sure you take a COVID-19 test to be certain it is not a symptom of the virus before looking at other culprits.
One of the main deficiencies which can lead to an increased risk of coughs and colds is a vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin D is often referred to as “the sunshine vitamin” due to the fact it naturally occurs from cholesterol in your skin when it’s exposed to the sun.
According to the NHS, most people get their yearly dose of vitamin D from “about late March/early April to the end of September” due to the strong rays of sunlight at this time.
In the winter months, it is much harder to get as much vitamin D from the sun due to weaker rays.
This is why vitamin D deficiencies are more common in the winter months.
During winter, as cold and flu season ramps up, vitamin D can be vital in defending against infections.
However, just because there is far less sun at this time of year doesn’t mean you can’t get the right dose of vitamin D from other sources.
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What are the symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency?
Recurring and persistent coughs are just one symptom of a vitamin D deficiency.
Other symptoms of deficiencies include:
- Tiredness and fatigue
- Muscle weakness
- Low moods
- Disrupted sleep
- Back and bone pain
How can you naturally boost your vitamin D intake?
There are a number of natural ways to boost your vitamin D intake, including by taking supplements or adding vitamin-rich foods into your diet.
The NHS says: “If you’re still spending more time indoors than usual this spring and summer, you should take 10 micrograms (400 IU) of vitamin D a day to keep your bones and muscles healthy.”
Certain goods are rich in vitamin D, including mushrooms, egg yolks and fortified foods including plant-based milk alternatives, tofu, some cereals and yoghurts.
You can check whether a food has been fortified by reading its label.
Fatty fish and seafood such as tuna, mackerel, shrimp, oysters and sardines are also high in vitamin D.
People who are opting to take vitamin D supplements should check how much of the nutrient is in each tablet.
Taking too much vitamin D can also cause side effects.
The NHS states: “If you choose to take vitamin D supplements, 10IU a day will be enough for most people.”
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